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Asian American Fraternity Hazing: An Analysis of Community-Level Factors

UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal, Vol. 21, 2016

28 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2018  

Gregory Scott Parks

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Wendy Laybourn

University of Maryland, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

Date Written: January 20, 2018

Abstract

When Asian-Americans began entering college during the early twentieth-century, they faced institutional barriers to full participation in college life. They were denied on-campus housing, access to scholarship funds, and entrance into fraternal organizations, which included written exclusionary policies prohibiting any nonwhite and non-Christian membership. Faced with these exclusions, Asian American men and women founded their own fraternal organizations as spaces to provide social support, camaraderie, resources, and ties to the broader ethnic community. From 1916 through 1970, eleven Asian American fraternities and sororities were established. These organizations were mainly Chinese American or Japanese American organizations, reflecting the demographics of Asian college students at the time. While these organizations provided much needed relief from the marginalization they felt on their campuses, they often did not receive the full rights and privileges as other college fraternal organizations.

Currently, exclusionary race-based policies no longer exist among collegiate fraternal organizations. However, even at universities with relatively large Asian American student enrollment, Asian American students continue to be underrepresented in historically "white" Greek-letter organizations. Where members of such groups, Asian Americans are often relegated to less prestigious chapters and experience racial stereotyping by other members. Studies have examined the perceptions of campus inclusion by Asian American fraternity and sorority members.

Contemporary research on college student involvement finds that two percent of Asian American college students join Asian American sororities or fraternities. While prior research pointed to the role of Asian American sororities for identity-making, research shows that Asian American men join fraternities as a way to combat stereotypes about them as nerdy or socially and athletically inferior to other men. Nonetheless, within these organizations, hazing can be seen as a form of hyper-masculinity. A concomitant effect is a form of hazing that may be peculiarly, physically violent. Hazing, like any other type of human problem, has its roots in many different areas and at many different levels. In this article, the authors specifically focus on hazing within Asian American fraternities as one example of hazing that arises in a range of organizational contexts.

Keywords: Hazing, Asian American fraternal organizations, Asian American fraternities, Asian American sororities

Suggested Citation

Parks, Gregory Scott and Laybourn, Wendy, Asian American Fraternity Hazing: An Analysis of Community-Level Factors (January 20, 2018). UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal, Vol. 21, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3105967

Gregory Scott Parks (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States
3367582170 (Phone)

Wendy Laybourn

University of Maryland, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology ( email )

2103 Art and Sociology Building
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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