Public shaming is rampant in today’s media. The court of public opinion surpasses logical thinking when ruling against immoral behaviour.
Recently, a Canadian man faced death threats for clubbing an unsuspecting fish and throwing it back into a lake. This action is certainly wrong and reasonably uncalled for, but it didn’t warrant the backlash it received. Parallel to this is an Oklahoma fraternity which was recently banned after a video surfaced of members chanting a racist song.
If you think the public gave the fish guy a hard time these fraternity members were basically crucified.
People shouldn’t be crucified because their actions aren’t justified by public opinion. But when actions are as harsh and controversial as the SAE fraternities chant, they deserve some serious public backlash.
The use of the n-word was rampant within the song, but what attracted the most controversy was the direct reference to killing African Americans. This is a touchy subject in light of recent incidents of police brutality, and because Americans are still dealing with past wounds of segregation and the distant nightmare of slavery. Racism is a highly flammable topic, and when it’s perpetrated by a group or individual, the public backlash is swift and almost uniform. The media jumped on every chance they had to criticize the fraternity’s behaviour and they were completely justified in doing so. Anything short of public shaming was completely warranted.
This backlash is deserved because the chant refers to a dark time in America’s history where segregation, violence, and lynching were more acceptable ideas of behaviour by some groups in America. It’s taken decades for African Americans to attain justice, and when chants like that are made, they inevitably put progress a few steps backward. When people yell that they would rather see someone lynched rather than having them join their fraternity there needs to be serious
I’m sure that the SAE members don’t actually want to see an African American lynched or violently attacked because of the colour of their skin. But by chanting such barbaric things they open themselves up for comparison with past hate.