Dear Frats, Stop Appropriating My Greek Culture

It’s Not All Greek to Me

Illustrator: Katie Heywood

Usually when cultural appropriation is discussed, it’s over the use of Bindis as accessories or celebrities using certain styles to sell products. But what is not talked about enough is the much more pervasive form that exists on all college campuses, which is that of “Greek Life.”

Well here’s the thing, there is nothing Greek about that lifestyle. I should know, I am one-tenth Greek. We Greeks are a proud people who spend our days drinking Ouzo and eating baklava after a long day of fishing on the tranquil Mediterranean Sea. Well, at least those of us Greeks who live back in the old country.

Our culture is not one of raping and hazing. That is very much not cool and not Greek. So naturally it makes me extremely mad when members of a frat do something terrible, like condone rape culture, and then “Greek life” as a whole gets blamed for it. My people do not want anything to do with this.

The terms “sorority” and “fraternity” don’t even have Greek roots. They are Latin. This further proves that these organizations can alter or disregard aspects of Greek culture. Also, I’m pretty sure most fraternity members have never even eaten a stuffed grape leaf once in their lifetimes. Yet here they are saying they are a part of the “Greek life.”

My great grandfather didn’t hop on a boat from Greece just to have a bunch of white dudes wearing Vineyard Vines clothes go around misrepresenting his culture. He went on that boat because he wanted a better life in America. At least that was the official record; my grandma doesn’t know too much about his past other than the fact he was Greek and looked a little bit like Saddam Hussein. That said, he would definitely be outraged at modern American fraternities, as would notable Greek John Stamos.

If you are not an actual Greek, stop calling yourself one. Just because you all want to belong to a community does not mean you have to go around stealing the symbols and traditions of my community.