You Can Party Without Appropriating A Culture

You Can Party Without Appropriating A Culture

Mexicans are more than stereotypes: piñatas, tequila, "Despacito."
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Greek life in the college social atmosphere was built on racism, formed by white men in resistance to integration of American colleges. The Sigma Nu chapter at Washington and Lee University apparently hasn't overcome this history. On Monday, September 4, an email invitation for the annual "Sigma Nuevo" party was sent out to W&L students, announcing the fraternity's first party of the 2017-18 academic year.

"Amigas and Amigos,

Tonight, mariachi your way over the border to --- for Sigma Nuevo. DJ --- will be making an appearance. The wall comes down at 9:30pm, and the piñata goes up around 11pm.

La fiesta is at ---. Age appropriate beverages will be provided by Señor Cuervo himself. Word on the street is, he loves limes.

There will be rides from the quad, but walking isn't that bad either. I've attached a map for the directionally challenged.

From --- and the --- hombres

“What doesn’t tequila, makes you stronger.” – Sean Spicer

“Remember, salt first…” – Chill ---

“Mr. Gringo, tear down this wall.” – Ronaldo Reagan"

Walking into the part in light of the invitation felt like a remake of Dear White People. It was held in a historical Lexington home that served as a safe haven for African Americans who visited the area during segregation -- a slap in the face, enough. People squeezed in on the porch under the hanging piñatas, wearing sombreros. Banners and flags of Mexican alcohol hung inside, where there were many more sombreros and piñatas.

You can't base a party theme on an entire culture, especially one that has been historically and currently marginalized and exploited. Mexicans are more than stereotypes: piñatas, tequila, "Despacito."

On the night before Trump's decision regarding DACA, the program that provides temporary protection and work visas for undocumented immigrants, jokes about the wall just aren't funny to the 618,342 out of the total 800,000 DACA recipients who are from Mexico. And it definitely wasn't funny to some W&L students.

It's not just a Sigma Nu chapter issue. Fraternity and sorority parties with racist and culturally appropriative themes happen on this campus as well as plenty of others at colleges and universities across the United States. It perpetrates a culture of exclusion, violence and blatant disrespect. It shouldn't be tolerated by both those within these organizations and those who aren't.

I know I'm not the only person who was offended by this party. There were some who came and left very soon, like I did. I even knew a few people who stole the piñata off the porch and ran away. I talked to a few other people while I was there who said, "Hey, something's not right about this," but stayed the whole time. It was a very crowded house. You couldn't walk anywhere without being uncomfortably close and squeezing by strangers. Imagine a Mexican student walking into the party just to see how she was represented and, judging by the sheer number of people that were there, felt like a good portion of the school views her culture as something to be mocked, personified, appropriated. You didn't have to write the email. If you participated, you contributed. We can't progress forward if we aren't actively thinking about what message our presence (or absence) sends.

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Denham

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
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After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvUCbnwzySKgbKiB_...



14. Some activities on my bucket list are...


This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...



What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Didn't Join A Panhellenic Sorority

It's okay if you don't join a panhellenic sorority. Sometimes a different organization can turn out to be the best thing.

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Before going to college I was faced with a dilemma, should I rush? I wanted to rush just for the social aspect, I thought it would be my best shot at making a bunch of friends. However, deep down I knew that greek life really wasn't me. I didn't want to do something if I wasn't one hundred percent behind it. There was a part of me that did want to be in a sorority but the other part of me really didn't want to rush. Let me be clear, I don't think Greek life is bad, I just think it wasn't for me. I talked to my brother and sister-in-law about this because they both were in Greek life at the college I attend now; they told me that they didn't think I would like it either.

What my brother and sister-in-law told me that I might like was, a Christian sorority called Sigma Phi Lambda. When they described it to me it seemed like exactly what I was wanting. As soon as I got to college I sought them out; and I went to their recruitment nights. I loved it! It was exactly what I was looking for. I ended up joining. This sorority brought me an amazing group of friends! Most importantly, I have joined the perfect sorority for me! A few things I liked most about Sigma Phi Lambda was the people were so welcoming, it was more low key and laid back, I was still able to have a big and a "Pham", we still did lots of sorority things whilst also having activities that strengthened us on our walks with the Lord, and I gained so many sisters that I now have strong relationships with. Sigma Phi Lambda gave me so many friends and something to be involved in on campus. They gave me somewhere to belong and I am so glad I chose to join them.

Rushing may be exactly what you need when you go to college, but if it's not that is okay. Just join something that makes you happy. Join an organization that helps you grow and surrounds you with people that you want to be around. I promise when you get to college that there is an organization for just about everything, find the one that fits you. No matter what you choose I promise it's good. Just make sure you choose what is right for you.

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