Fraternities are subject to false stereotypes

Tim Adams

What is a stereotype? Why is it so important? According to Mike Cardwell of the Dictionary of Psychology, a stereotype is “a fixed overgeneralized belief about a particular group or class of people.”

Why is stereotyping so important to me? Well, it’s because I get stereotyped every single day. I am a member of the fraternal organization known as Tau Kappa Epsilon, or what is also known as “being part of a frat.”

Fraternities, as well as sports teams and other organizations here on campus, get stereotyped almost every day. If you don’t believe me, check Yik Yak. I bet you will find many unpleasant and vulgar posts about some group or some team. Now, I can’t necessarily speak for the other organizations or teams, but I can clarify some of the stereotypes that fraternities handle on a daily basis.

My fraternity brothers and myself ran recruitment for our tables during the summer and early in the semester for orientation and Fall Fest. Many of the guys I taked to I asked: “When you generally hear the word fraternity, what comes to mind?”

To my surprise, I got a variety of different answers such as, “a bunch of guys just drinking and partying,” or “a bunch of guys who think and act in the same way.”  Both of these are not true.

The original reason I even chose to go through with the Tekes (what they are known as on campus) was their philanthropic work.

The Tekes do two big philanthropy events each year. In the fall semester, we do an event called Tub Push. We push a bathtub on wheels from Sault Ste. Marie all the way back here to Marquette.

It is about a 164 mile walk, and last year it took us about 34 hours. We ended up raising close to $1,000 for the children’s museum here in Marquette.

Last winter semester, the Tekes did a food and clothes drive for the local thrift store, St. Vincent de Paul. We went from house to house collecting canned food, clothes, or pretty much any necessities  and donated it all to St. Vincent de Paul. In that sense, the Tekes do much more than people actually see.

The other stigma is that we all look alike or act alike, which is not true at all. First of all, there is a guy with half a hand and one leg in the fraternity.

How many people ever in your life would you meet with that disability? Another thing is a lot of the guys are very diverse. Some guys like to go disc golfing while other guys like to play Magic. That’s right I said Magic!  But, in all seriousness there are even more unique things about the guys.

I know some guys who are into fencing and even guys who are into swing dance.

Basically, it is natural to try and stereotype different groups because you don’t understand them; but just watch out for it next time. Every person is their own unique individual.

The bottom line is, don’t label people. It’s easy to label someone, it’s easy to look at things you don’t like; but try and look at the things you do like.