asian american fraternities and hazing

This is a really interesting article on the increasing number of reported incidents of brutal hazing rituals -- sometimes resulting in death -- among Asian American fraternities: The New Animal Houses. NPR's Tell Me More picked up on the story with its own really interesting, really sad segment: Asian-American Frat Life Marred By Hazing.

It's true, we've recently heard about a significant number of hazing-related deaths among Asian American fraternities. However, I wouldn't necessarily single it out as an Asian American thing. There are fraternities/sororities, sports teams and other organizations that engage in hazing, regardless of race and/or culture.

Having never been involved in an Greek organization before, I can't really speak to why young college students are compelled to join, and then go through the harrowing, dangerous and/or humiliating rituals they sometimes have to endure just to "belong." (I am not, of course, talking about all fraternities, but you can't deny that these practices do indeed occur.)

But I do know when a fraternity is collectively involved, it makes it that much harder for any one person to shoulder the blame and take responsibility when something goes horribly wrong. If they entire fraternity, as a collective entity, was taking part, who is really to blame?

Which member of Lambda Phi Epsilon at the University of Texas takes responsibility for the events that led to the death of Jack Phoummarath, who died of alcohol poisoning as a result of hazing? Who's the sad sack who gets to face Phoummarath's family and tell them what happened that night?

All I know is, hearing Jack's sister Marion in the NPR story, her voice cracking at the mention of her brother... it just breaks your heart. No one should have to go through that. It's senseless.

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