Cultural Factors Relating to Fraternities

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Cultural Factors Relating to Fraternities

        A common misconception of the definition of “culture” is that it applies solely to differences in ethnic background and not differences in other aspects.  For instance, when a person goes off to college and enters a fraternity, that person is exposed to an entirely different culture than a person who does not join a fraternity.  A fraternity is a national or local collegiate organization encompassing its own unique set of rules and regulations.  Each fraternity uses two or three Greek letters to represent its motto.  Each fraternity has a coat of arms, a badge or pin, a flag, rituals, passwords and handshakes.  Fraternities usually provide their members living quarters while they attend school.  First year students are aquatinted with society members via a practice known as rushing.  In the week of rushing, pledges are given bids or invitations to join a certain fraternity.   Pledges are students who accept the invitation or bid and are required to meet the membership requirements set by the society and the school.  It is strictly the student's decision weather or not they take the opportunity to join the fraternity.  Fraternities provide a form of cultural diversity for college students.  Many factors affect this diversity of culture.   Fraternities offer positive cultural factors such as assistance in social aspects, through constant exposure to a certain group of people, as well as educational assistance, by encouraging academic success and providing tools such as tutoring to ensure this success.  However, fraternities also offer negative cultural factors.  One major negative cultural aspect of fraternities is the physical and psychological damage that accompanies a ritual known as hazing.  

Some examples of  physical tests of fraternities are: chugging alcohol with mayonnaise and forced to fill a bucket with everyone’s vomit, biting the head off a dead rat and holding it in your mouth for ten minutes, or having a huge, lit fire cracker stuffed in your anus ( A&E).  Imagine it is three in the morning and you are in deep sleep.  Suddenly, a pledge team rushes in and blindfolds you.  You are then thrown in a trunk of a car with two other males and forced to drink an outlandish combination of alcoholic beverages.  Before you even realize the possible consequences it is too late and you are already dead.  This was the price of Chuck Stephens who chose to join an elite group of friends, a fraternity.  This was just the start of the hazing process that was never completed.  Some people call this the right of passage, while others may even go as far as saying it is all in good fun.  This is perceived to many as harmless, but in reality, this form of hazing can lead to serious physical damage and, in the case of Chuck Stephens, even death.  

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        Another negative cultural aspect of hazing is psychological torment. Verbal and/or mental abuse also falls into the category of hazing.  Hazing can be violent, such as a paddle strike, or psychologically degrading, such as various types of verbal abuse.  This abuse often leads to serious psychological damage to pledges.  This damage can prove to be a negative cultural factor that actually leads to degradation of motivation and achievement in pledges.  One problem with psychological abuse is that it is often perceived to be harmless.  This form of abuse is viewed as an initiation ceremony designed to determine one’s worthiness as ...

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