May 9, 2011

Anonymous Posts (5.3.11-5.9.11)

Every week, we collect anonymous entries sent in using the link on our sidebar and post them all on Monday. We post anything as long as it doesn't contain personal attacks, hate speech, or express or insinuate that one is at risk for hurting themselves or someone else. Please read this for an explanation of this policy and seek help if your or a friend find yourself in that position. With those exceptions aside, please feel free to submit your thoughts and questions. :)

Hey y'all. Sorry these are getting up so late. I've been traveling all day...but let's be real, you're all in Myrtle and so you haven't even noticed that these weren't up 12-hours ago.

And, while we're being real--can we just talk about Grey's Gay's Anatomy for a minute? And the amazing social commentary in the last episode? Even if you don't watch the show, if you care at all about gay marriage, I recommend tuning into this past Thursday's episode.

Reason #2710823 why Dr. Miranda Bailey is a totally bad ass and amazing strong woman who speaks nothing but The Truth:

"Okay, first of all, you do not need the law, or a priest, or your mother to make your wedding real.

And the church—the church can be anywhere you want it to be: in a field, on a mountain, right here in this room…anywhere. Because where do you think God is? He’s in you. He’s in me! He’s right here, in the middle of us.

Now, your church just hasn’t caught up to God yet. Your mother, she hasn’t caught up to God yet, and by the way, she may not ever catch up. But it’s okay. It’s okay.

If you are willing to stand up in front of your friends, and family, and god, and commit yourself to another human being—to give of yourself in that kind of partnership, for better or worse, in sickness and health, honey, that is a marriage. That is real. And that’s all that matters."


Also, 2011ers: The BDU Blog (this thing you're reading right now!) needs you to write our first ever set of senior posts! Reflect on your experiences at Duke and over these past four years for as long or as short as you want. You can sign it however you want, including anonymously. Find me (Risa) on facebook or email ( if you're interested (which you are!).

Now, what you really care about, anonymous posts!

While studying for finals, a group of fratstars comes by hoping to find a place to study. They can't find a table, and so one says "Hey, let's be really gay and just make a circle with the chairs." I'm already taken aback, already agitated by what he said. But his friends didn't hear him, and so he repeats himself, same hate and all. They sit down, and another of the group's friends comes by and one says "Wow, you fruitcakes! You really have no idea how gay you look right now, sitting in that circle all gay" I'm so angry. Here I am, trying to study for finals, and all I can think about is how I absolutely loathe the culture that fraternities seem to breed on this campus. I know, they probably didn't "mean it that way" and that there are "tons" of gay males in fraternities, but in all seriousness, this derogatory language seems to be disproportionately used by members of Greek organizations on this campus and it frustrates me to no end.

Please remember that there are a number of resources available on campus and in the local community. These resources are available over summer, too! If you or a friend are experiencing thoughts or urges to harm yourself or somebody else, please reach out to the following resources: In an emergency, please don't hesitate to call CAPS at any time, including "after hours" at (919) 966-3820. Ask to speak to the advice nurse and tell them you are a Duke student. You may also call the Trevor Project, a national hotline specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning youth (college students included). Their number is 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).


  1. #1 (I suppose that's actually unnecessary this week...). I hate that that happened. I hate that for some bizarre reason people who presumably possess some modicum of intelligence elected to completely disregard their birthright. I hate that organizations that I still believe - perhaps naively - could be nothing but an enhancement to the collegiate experience of their members *and* those who are not members still use hate speech. I don't know if it is in larger number than those not in fraternities, but really, the mere fact of existence makes the statistics irrelevant.

    You should never have to confront that. Now it's a question of how to make it stop...

  2. #1 - I know this is only midly related, but I thought you might be interested to check out AJ's post this time last year about coming out as a Greek student on campus:

    You might also might be interested in checking out some of the posts that Edie has written about the LGBTQ and Greek communities intersecting:

    Personally, I've learned that you can't generalize-that there's homophobia in even the most progressive, liberal organizations, and that some of my biggest allies and supporters are Greek students.

  3. First, thanks Megan for posting that! I was going to do it but you beat me to it haha.

    #1- I completely understand you're frustration. As a member of a Greek organization, I've had to deal with plenty of "that's gay!", "let's not be gay, guys", and "that's such a gay thing to do". It annoyed me to no end. But it didn't stop or, at least occur less often, until I brought it up to my brothers how them saying that word made me feel. They honestly meant no harm by it and all and didn't even know that it bothered me until I said something. And that's what we all must do. Whenever we hear someone using gay as a slur, we have to let them know that it's not ok and ask them to find another word to describe their feelings. I know it's not easy. It took me forever to tell my brothers, the people I'm closest to at Duke, how it made me feel so I don't expect you or anyone to just go up to random strangers and correct them. But if it does anger you so much, then I beg you to say something. Look at it this way, we wouldn't have learned to stop putting things in our mouths if our parents never said anything to us but only sat aside and scoffed.

    And the more you correct people, the easier it gets. I know that I've corrected my brothers so many times that when one of them accidentally lets it slip out, he'll look at me and I just give him this look (It's called a side-eye. It's a look of anger, disappointment, and judgment all mixed together. It's very powerful. You should try it sometimes haha) and he'll immediately apologize and retract his statement.

    I'm not going to say that more Greeks use derogatory language over non-Greeks. I've heard a lot of non-Greeks say it, too, but I do understand how Greeks perpetuate that stereotype. I will say that targeting certain communities for perhaps being more prone to using hate speech does nothing for the cause unless we step up and correct them. It starts with us standing up to them. I'm doing what I can in my friend circles but I'm only one person. This is a battle we can win if we all stand up to hate speech anytime we hear it.

  4. Yes it's annoying--especially in this kind of context where it'd be awkward, fruitless, and disruptive to try and correct them.
    But it seems to me like your use of "fratstars" is a more direct form of "hate speech" than their generically derogatory use of "gay." Something to note.

  5. @eric

    How do you justify classifying "fratstar" as hate speech? No member of a fraternity ever hears "frat star" before they are beaten up or threatened with violence. No individual is denied privileges for being a member of a Greek organization; in fact they are afforded many privileges. Casual use of the word doesn't reinforce a culture where fraternity members don't feel safe to be who they are. Even if the term is used in derogatory fashion, there's a big difference between hate speech and language that may be derogatory.

    Something to note, without necessarily justifying usage of the term "fratstar": there's nothing wrong with discussing the idea of whether or not Greek organizations are acceptable, beneficial, or necessary on college campuses. There are many things wrong with the idea of whether or not it's acceptable for LGBTQ students to exist on college campuses.

  6. Yeahhh that's quite a false parallel, Eric.

  7. I don't actually mean to classify anything. I was actually unclear what those using the term "hate speech" actually meant. I think the description you provided is probably right on par.
    But does the use here actually fulfill your criterion? I.e., was the OP actually fearful or reasonably expectant of violence? Probably not.
    So my point: even though it's unfortunate that 'gay' is frequently used in a derogatory way, I don't think a negative tone is satisfies the preconditions and motives necessary to constitute "hate speech" per se.
    And that additionally, in terms of directly attacking individuals of a certain grouping, we might consider that "I hate fratstars" would be a far more acceptable utterance on Duke's campus than "I hate gay people."

    And regarding your note, I like your conditions for discourse, and so I'll just share my own opinion: I believe that Greek organizations are acceptable if regulated; that they are beneficial only to some, and more frequently exclusionary; and that they are by no means necessary.

  8. Yeah, the OP never mentioned hate speech only that fraternities seem to breed a culture on campus where derogatory usage of the word gay is not a problem.

    I appreciate the fact that the situation described probably doesn't meet the legal definition of hate speech, but I never made that claim to begin with. I was just concerned with associating or seeming to equate or compare a word like "frat star" with homophobic speech when the first kind of language (although maybe offensive to some) could be couched in a legitimate argument against or critique of Greek organizations while the second kind is just hateful or at the very least ignorant.

  9. Comparisons of "hate speech" directed towards fratstars and gays are not very viable. A "fratstar" chooses to be part of the Greek community, and as previously noted, often receives many benefits to this, while someone who is gay does not choose this and is much more prone to discrimination. However, I really dislike how this argument is framed. There is no question that this use of gay as derogatory means is annoying and offensive, but I am not sure I would classify it as hateful. I doubt these "fratstars" were targeting one's sexual orientation when they said "gay", rather they use a word commonly used in our society. These "fratstars" are some of my best friends and have even accompanied me to gay clubs. While it's unfortunate that the word gay is being used like this, it by no means vindicates "loathing" Greek culture. There are some really great members of the Greek community and I suggest you stay opened minded to them if you expect them to do the same.