White Boys Drink, Black Girls Yell...: A Racialized and Gendered Analysis of Violent Hazing and the Law
18 J. GENDER, RACE, & JUST. 97(2013)
66 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2017
Date Written: 2013
In the past several decades, legal scholars have directed a modest amount of time and energy toward the issue of hazing. However, only within the past couple of years has there been any concerted effort to investigate the intersection of African American fraternities and sororities — also known as Black Greek-Letter Organizations (“BGLOs”) — and the law, particularly including hazing issues. The recent emergence of this scholarship is in striking contrast to the long and storied history of these organizations. Despite their longevity and accomplishments, information about BGLOs has largely been confined to their own internal texts. It was not until the mid-1990s that scholars generally began to investigate these organizations. It took almost another decade for public works on these groups to appear. Shortly thereafter, a proliferation of BGLO scholarship appeared. In this article, the authors theorize that legally consequential behavior is influenced by race and sex. Specifically, this article contends that hazing, as a form of legally consequential behavior, manifests itself quite differently within BGLOs than within their white counterpart organizations. Specifically, this article finds that hazing in Black fraternities is more physically violent. The authors contend that prevailing and yet provincial notions of Black masculinity in the United States underscore the violent nature of Black fraternity hazing.
Section I provides an anthropological history of rites of passage, as well as the evolution of collegiate fraternity and sorority hazing. Next, Section II analyzes the legal implications of hazing in both the criminal and civil realms. Section III reviews the study of hazing in White fraternities and sororities, as well as Black fraternities and sororities. The article concludes in Section IV with an empirical analysis, via an archival study and a large national survey, of how race and gender intersect to predict different forms of hazing among fraternity and sorority members, and why race and gender intersect to create a unique variant of hazing within Black fraternities.
Keywords: Black Greek-Letter Organizations, BGLOs, hazing
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