Discussion: Oklahoma Frat Member: My Racist Chant Was 'Disgusting' And I'm Sorry

Discussion for article #234701

He didn’t want to say that the chant was most likely passed down from generation to generation among SAEs at UO. Institutionalized racism, literally.


He’s “learned” these words should never be repeated? How dumb do you think we are to try and tell us you didn’t already know that a song about hanging n***ers from a tree was racist and wrong?


Oh, you’re sorry? Well, no problems, then.

Ok. That was the easy part. Step two is to become a better person. You can start by associating with African Americans and others when your reputation is not at stake.


Wouldn’t, for once, it be amazing if someone copped to the real problem, in an effort to make even a tiny bit of real change? Like if he didn’t focus on the action of singing the song, but instead say: "Now, this will sound like an excuse, but without admitting reality we can’t hope to fix things. Fact is, it’s how I was raised. Not by my parents specifically, but the culture in which we all lived. I didn’t dislike black people but we each sort of kept to ourselves, and if you were talking about a black guy you didn’t like you’d use the N-word because you knew it was disrespectful and you wanted to be disrespectful. The song was pretty awful but in the frat we sort of see it as ancient history, a funny relic. The real problem is that the guys in our frat don’t find the song shocking, because we grew up in a culture of casual racism. All the apologies in the world won’t fix that, but I’d like to apologize for my part in perpetuating racism in this country just by being a part of the problem. Maybe by saying out loud ‘Yes, America is a racist country’ we can start to change the parts that legislation didn’t fix. "

Something like that.


Good for him. I hope he has learned from this and never again participates or stands by idly while it happens.
I come with a different perspective than most on this issue. I grew up in Mississippi in a liberal household where saying the N word would earn a strong rebuke or worse. Of course I heard it a lot at the school yard and even Sunday school believe it or not (not the Methodist church, but when my mama passed, my dad remarried a southern Baptist).
I attended the University of Alabama in the early 90’s and was a member of an “old row” fraternity, the most established and traditional fraternities on campus. There were not any songs like this, but there were things at parties that looking back were reprehensible. I just wanted to party and sleep with as many women as possible, you know what a lot of young guys my age wanted to do in college.
There was a party where several pledges had to wear black face and pretend they were soda hawkers at Byant Denny. Thankfully I had to be a carrot. I should have stood up and said something was wrong, but I did not and that pains me to this day.
My point is you can’t write some of these guys off. There is plenty of time to right the ship. You also can’t assume that their parents taught them the vile behavior. What they did was wrong and I am hoping that this shamed the real racists and shamed the decent ones into questioning why they were in an organization that condoned this type of behavior, and why they participated or sat idly and said nothing.


Cuz that would have been truly contrite.

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He’s sorry he got caught.

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Wow. This would actually have been genius and it would be amazing for someone in the spotlight (and not just a blog poster of a Slate writer or a guy in a comments section on TPM) to say it and see what happens. Set up a side business as a damage control PR guy for white people who make racist remarks and get caught on video saying it, please.

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YouTube, the miracle medicine of the 21st century. Having your racism and ugliest inner self exposed on line has a dramatic healing effect.
Suddenly, people that were just enjoying hating on others and being awful to their fellow human beings are cured and learn lessons that they should’ve learned and lived by since early childhood.
Going viral heals many illnesses. Its the placebo that packs a punch.


He is not sorry. A sorry person would name the people who taught him the chant. A f***head trying to save his own hide simply apologizes, while defending the other racists and taking no steps whatsoever to combat racism.


I guess he’s just a coward at heart and doesn’t feel he could be a part of the solution. Or he doesn’t want to be a part of the solution because he is afraid the cost is too high. But perhaps he is sorry he made an ass of himself and along with a bus full of others caused his fraternity to get shut down, derailed his education, and that he will live in infamy for a long time if not forever.

And yes, as someone said, there is still time to right his ship, but one day he may look back on this missed opportunity to really contribute to the righting of a lot of ships.

Of course he’s forgiven. But will that be enough for him in the end?

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Reading through the comments I see no one here (or at least yet) gives this young man any credit or is capable of understanding what it is to make a mistake…Some parts of the “left” are genuinely becoming as distasteful as the “right” has been for some time where only the most pure are acceptable and they get to sit back and toss stones (figuratively) at those who are less than perfect.

Flanked by several black Oklahoma City community leaders, including pastors and civil rights activists,
Just say 10 Hail Marys and God will forgive you .

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He led the chant… and he’s sorry he “failed to stop” it?

I robbed a bank. If I get caught, at my trial I’m going to say I’m sorry I “failed to stop” the robbery.

This silver-spoon-in-mouth bigot has a bright future ahead of him in the Republican Party.

I’m sorry, but if one so sheltered can ever change at all (which I doubt), it takes a lot more than just an apology. It takes committed and long-term effort, and a lot of time spent in places he’s never been meeting people he’s never met and learning they’re not the people his parents taught him they were.

We’re all a work in progress to be sure. If this incident has motivated him to take up the cause, and if he uses his inherited wealth and influence to make a real difference in the lives of real people, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong.

But until then, it’s more about fear, and remorse at getting caught, so he’s going through the motions. I can only wonder whether his rich daddy hired a PR firm that’s advising him through this – after all, this publicity could be bad for business. All I know is, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Because, to the high priest of false equivalence, leading a bus full of white people in a chant to celebrate their bigotry — bonding on it as frat brothers — is simply a “mistake,” not a character deficit that will take a long and concerted effort to correct – an effort for which he has not yet demonstrated any sort of commitment.

In my humble opinion, some parts of the “middle” are genuinely full of shit.


… and after meeting with these people I’ve learned these words should never be repeated," Pettit said.

So, the first clue a twenty-something college educated man had that racism is bad occurred to him, well, at age twenty-something? That lesson was never imparted to him previously? By anyone? Nothing he read, heard, or observed informed him of racism's evil until his own behavior dropped him in the grease? Would the same apology suffice for rape? "It wasn't until I was confronted by these 9 women here and saw their pain that I realized forcible sodomy upon them was bad, and for that I'm sorry." Yeah, that'll work........
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For some - this kid will never be able to adequately express an apology - never enough contrition.
But maybe the true picture will be what he choses to do with the rest of his life - see if this sets him off in a different direction - or if it was just a bump in the road & he goes back to his ‘traditional’ outlook