OPINION

Opinion: A student response to 'themed parties' at the University of Texas at Austin

Just like black lives matter, brown lives matter, white lives matter, and all lives matter. The conditions shouldn’t change based on the where the conversation is taking place.

The Tau Deuteron chapter of Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Texas at Austin (also known as Texas Fiji) hosted a “border patrol” theme party Saturday night where attendees wore clothing that reflected the stereotypical portrayal of Mexicans: ponchos, sombreros, and construction work outfits topped off with labels reading “Pablo Sanchez” and “Jefe.”

Whether a solution lies in mandatory culture components in the academic curriculum, or a mandatory diversity seminar for Greek life on the UT campus, something ultimately needs to get done before each and every person of color stops enrolling at the University of Texas.

- Ingrid Vasquez

The Sorority and Fraternity Life office and the Campus Climate Response Team were going to “investigate” the issue, according to the Daily Texan, the student-run newspaper on campus that first broke the story. 

At the same time, the Latino Community Affairs agency, the umbrella organization at UT Austin for Latino groups and students on campus, drafted a letter of concern asking the university to enforce some repercussions.

But for now, let's ponder a situation where a group of college students - black, brown, and every ethnic minority  - walked around in blond wigs, with their bodies painted in white, and shirts that read “white trash” “cracker” and “wigger.”

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The university would do something about it.

Many Latinos are stuck behind the fact that this is not the first time that a culturally insensitive act has occurred at the University of Texas. The views among many are: “They’re just stupid frat boys,” and “After the 'Catching an Illegal Immigrant' game it was bound to happen again.”

And that’s the reality of it. It’s bound to happen again because the university won’t do anything to prevent it from happening again.

Whether a solution lies in mandatory culture components in the academic curriculum, or a mandatory diversity seminar for Greek life on the UT campus, something ultimately needs to get done before each and every person of color stops enrolling at the University of Texas.

Sure, I am a Latina with dark brown skin and dark brown hair enrolled as a student at the University of Texas and have no scratches or bruises on me from last Saturday. I have also not received any threats on my life or the lives of my loved one.

But not every scar is visible on the outside as it is from within.

They say that what starts at the University of Texas changes the world.  They never mentioned how, though.

Ingrid Vasquez is a fourth-year Journalism and Mexican American Studies student at the University of Texas at Austin. 

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