the police are a fraternity

[CN: Misogyny, misogynoir, white supremacy, rape, police and fraternity violence against women]

I never had a hatred for the police. Songs like “eff the police” would make me cringe, because of generalization and stereotypes. But what I realized after that first week is that the police have a culture that warrants and actually invites those generalizations. They are a force. Several of them told me on August 10th that they are a fraternity. That reality really hit home when I realized some of those same officers that were so civil during the daylight were pointing rifles at my head during the night and would not hesitate to shoot me upon command. It’s a system based on unwavering trust and support in each other, even when they are obviously wrong, And sadly, it’s that culture of unquestioned authority that pits them against the very communities they are supposed to be “serving”.

Ashley Yates, Millennial Activists United organizer

This, x ∞^∞. The self-enforcing groupthink and conformity that arise in cop and frat cultures make “good cops/fratboys” impossible.

In 1988, the Pi Kappa Alpha fratscum of Florida State gangraped a woman — oh wait, except it’s mean to them to call it a gangrape because only two guys did anything. Cismales will always have eachother’s backs and will never snitch. If a “good” fratboy is not going to do anything to stop rape or any gendered violence because of his loyalty to his brothers, then they’re not good anymore, and never were good. The end.

Read any story of how police departments and city DAs will work together to protect pigs who commit domestic violence, to the extent of destroying evidence and giving survivors jail time for defending themselves with a weapon, and weep.

Ashley Yates’s night and day juxtaposition was so striking to me — it’s exactly like modern frat culture: respectable conservative suits-on-Monday white boys by day, their true selves by night. They are the most visible and organized expressions of the white-supremacist and misogynist values that built this fucked up nation that middle-class society faces, and the violence they wage establishes masculinity as superior and polices gender for everyone else. The people who rule us are thoroughly dick-whipped.

(Ever notice how frat pamphlets happily boast that fratboys go on to be senators, congressmen, and maybe even the prez? Like they’re proud to serve as the pipeline for the sociopaths who enjoy money, blow, and sex work from corporate lobbyists run the country.)

Despite all the evidence, even the most anti-government conservative will bend over backward to defend the institution of the police, and likewise my campus coddles the greek system after every scandal. It goes to show that our culture cares less about who is free and more about who are the designated criminals and slaves. (I hate hierarchy and domination and control by the state! Don’t tread on me bro! But tyranny for those people is A-Okay!)

The amount of backlash against the slightest act of opposition or criticism betrays the sheer amount of arrogance afforded by white privilege. Black human beings standing free in the streets is an act of domestic terrorism. Accusing fraternities of proliferating rape culture and other things that are 100% true is an insulting act of slander. “How dare you. We make your campus a better place at no cost to you. We serve and protect you.”

Once us men put ourselves on top of the constructed hierarchy, there’s nothing else to do but be paranoid and afraid. Every time our privilege is identified by someone else we double down “My first amendment rightsa;jfdkl;adsfkhaj.” When the Sigma Chi fratscum at my campus had a shitty “apology” run in the school paper (after leaked facebook threads revealed their culture at full toxicity as well as details of abuse and attempted rape), the final thought was something akin to: “Maybe now we won’t have people heckling new pledges.” Because that’s what was really important. Not that women, minority students, lesbians, trans, and queer students actually feel fucking safe here. The priority is unquestioning respect for the baboons.

But my grumbling about frat culture is not at all on the same register as what Ashley Yates is talking about. For people of color in the US, murder and death is foregrounded. This is why bell hooks called Zimmerman’s acquittal the worship of death. This is why the Black Women’s Health Center in Florida in the 80s described reproductive rights for black women as a live fetus in a dead body, ground down by racism and class oppression. This is why white boomers tote their rifles and wave their gadsdens with the protection of the cops while a man of color can be shot dead for frightening a white man by being in a Walmart.

As long as “Brotherhood” remains socially legitimated, public space will always be hostile to anyone who is not het, white, cis, and male. The history of “Brotherhood” is colonization, warfare, and disease.


I realize that my feelings about college fraternities are coming from 3.5 years of built-up ressentiment and frustration after encountering their homophobia firsthand along with so many other microagressions, so my words above may have come off as a bit strong. Because of this, I would like to make a humble and sincere apology to baboons. I meant no disrespect to these beautiful and fascinating species of primates by likening them to fratscum.

 

 

 

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