Magens Bay --San Thomas

Monday, September 24, 2012

Would You Ever Go Through Hazing to be Part of a Group?


Would you ever go through hazing to be part of a group? That was the question that the New York Times was asking its readers lately. Reason being, even though after 44 states have passed the law to discontinue the hazing, the practice still persist … Yes, even to date!
The article zeroing into one of the most prestigious public institutions in the Northeast, Binghamton University where – “a hazing scandal that forced the university to suspend pledging and induction at all fraternities and sororities.”

Very interesting subject. I was never part of any sorority when I was in college –just because. But, I heard about the sororities, for a time, I thought it was the coolest groups but strangely never did it once occurred to my mind to join one. Perhaps I had done myself some justices. Either way, this is another mind-set that the newspaper’s current editor in chief, Daniel Weintraub, pointed out how most hazing still remains as open secret. “The view of the majority of the student body is that everyone knew all this was happening and no one cares,” he said. “People think, ‘If you want to be hazed, go join a frat; if you don’t want to be hazed, don’t join a frat.’ ” –Interesting.



Knowing this, would we ever let our next generation to join one? Also, we, as parents, how can we prevent our children to be the executors of the hazing?

Until next stop,
Journey of LIfe

18 comments:

  1. I was not in a fraternity during my college days, though I was friends with people who were, and I have two brothers who both pledged frats. My alma mater is notorious for the bad behaviour of its Greek houses, and most of us who are alums are aware to one degree or another of the sorts of things that constituted "hazing" when we were younger.

    I think that few would defend the most grotesque examples of hazing that make it to the news, but I would also suggest that virtually any group of like-minded people - whether a fraternity, a sport team, a school band/orchestra, a group of sales people at a trade show - will engage in some sorts of hazing or quasi-hazing behaviour. Hazing, as I understand it, is a sort of tribal code that is used to dilineate "us" and "them;" for better or worse, it has fulfilled a primal need probably older than humanity itself.

    Our son is only seven, but you already can see some of this going on, even in grade two - you MUST play "tag" this way, you have to "like" this show or that. I'll bet with little girls, it may be even worse, with punishment for the non-compliant less violent perhaps, but with social sanction that is even more painful.

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    1. I believe hazing started as part of *fun* welcoming/pledging new members. Through out the years, the *fun* have turned into much more severe. I guess, some people enjoy seeing others suffering is definitely not my cup of tea.

      when I was in high school, we have hazing culture as well and I was part of the officers who supposed to enforce the initiation though I must say what we had in mind then was merely *fun* thing such as jumping frog or perhaps a few funny but definitely NOT sick jokes. Still. I couldn't do it --perhaps I should not be appointed to be an officer then :-)

      And I hear you and I know what exactly you meant that our *hazing* culture even exist in elementary schools.

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  2. No, I would never go through a hazing ritual for anybody, and I never would have. I was too much of an individualist - I knew what I liked and wanted,and I didn't need a like-minded group to make me feel my existence was validated. In my small liberal arts college, back in the late '50s (the dark ages for most of you), faternities had their residences, but while sororities had houses, they were only for meetings, not for dorms. I never joined.
    There were some things freshman had to do - you had to wear a beanie (no big deal there - that year it was a kind of nautical-looking hat, not obnoxious at all), and there were "kangaroo courts" where people could be reprimanded if they didn't abide by the rules. I remember worrying that I would do something wrong and get called up. One thing you had to do was attend a couple of football games. Since I hated football, I was disgusted at the waste of time. I went to one game, but it was pouring rain for the other one, and since I lived at home, my family pretty much nixed my going. So I didn't attend, and nothing happened to me. I think the whole thing was meant to be fun - all bark and no bite. But I worried, nevertheless. I'm just not a joiner.

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    1. Thank you for confirming that our hazing culture started with some fun things and not definitely what we have in mind today.

      Here is some sniphets from The New York Times ..."One father cited text messages from his son, which could “only be interpreted as desperately reaching out for help.” He said they included descriptions of being forced to stand out in the cold in his underwear, prevented from sleeping for prolonged periods of time and not being allowed to leave the fraternity all weekend. “To be frank, I am shocked and mortified that this is allowed to go on at your institution,” he wrote. "

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  3. I'm guessing hazing is what we call ragging here in India. There have several fatal incidents here until it was banned by the government. But it does continue. Like you said, as a parent it's scary to think that your kid might be a victim or a perpetrator of this.

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    1. Indeed. Hear this ... "Another student said he was hazed night after night, until right before morning classes. He wrote in an anonymous e-mail to the university, “I was hosed, waterboarded, force-fed disgusting mixtures of food, went through physical exercises until I passed out, and crawled around outside in my boxers to the point where my stomach, elbows, thighs and knees are filled with cuts, scrapes and bruises.”"

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  4. This subject is so on fire. Thanks for posing the question to make me think about it. I think the hazing is many things including making those in charge feel superior to others.

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    1. I don't know. My hubby said, sometimes it is more like chain reaction thing. Thinking, I was hazed hard and perhaps I should put more on others since I have been thru so much in the past, others should too.

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  5. I wouldn't participate in hazing to join a group. I would hope that my children would be strong enoough to resist participating in such a thing!

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  6. I would never participate in any time of hazing. I think it is "mob" mentality and some people don't mind going along with it to "fit" into a group. I never joined a group of any kind until I was 40 and it was a Jane Austen Society (yes, wild and crazy, I know!) But seriously, it is great to see you writing about this subject as it can springboard parents into talking to their kids and having and open dialog on such a scary and often deadly practice.

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    1. Thank you Winnie for you encouraging words. It is indeed my hope to insert this thought into us, parents, and our next generations. This has become our family discussion to ensure our girls know they have options and they *do not* need to go through the hazing just to be part of the elite groups.

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  7. I heard about this incident yesterday - horrible...

    The sad thing is that the kids who participate are just kids - and I don't know if they really have the ability to say no sometimes - or just get caught up in the group think...

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    1. Yeah ... that made me even sadder ... And here is echoing exactly what you said --according to the NY Times "One junior, who expressed great love for the university, relayed accounts from two pledges. One said her sorority threw pledges into a freezing shower where they had to recite the Greek alphabet. Another reported being forced to eat concoctions meant to make pledges vomit on one another and to hold hot coals from hookahs in their hands. The e-mail concluded: “Save the innocent and na├»ve who can’t seem to save themselves.” "

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  8. I would never participate in hazing - of course, I am now old and wise. However, I would sure hope to instill in my grandkids (as I know their parents are doing) the confidence that they control their own actions. No one should ever think they have to do crazy and dangerous things, just to belong.

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  9. I actually think hazing (in its relatively benign form of "fun" practices) came later than its original intent, which is enforcement of group norms and practices. If you think of tribal culture, what better way to demonstrate your loyalty and worthiness to be in the tribe than by some difficult task?

    For people who say "I would never engage in hazing," I would suggest to many to look at your life and examine how true that that actually is. Many of us would not engage in hazing of the sort discussed here - i.e., fraternity pledges being made to eat disgusting "food," with the hope that they will vomit on other pledges.

    But think more broadly. My father was a medical doctor, and as an intern, was forced to work very long, punishing shifts, sleeping maybe an hour over the course of two days on a cot in the hospital.

    What purpose did that possibly serve, other than to "prove" his worthiness? Did the patients get better medical care? Did it help him to be a better doctor? I would strongly suggest that the answer is "no" on both counts.

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    1. Interesting perspective and very true indeed. Now come to think about it even our working life in the corporate world. We tend to work long hours to prove ourselves until we are quite accepted.

      Very insightful comment!

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