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Thanks for Paul Ruffins’ well-researched and balanced article on hazing in black fraternities (“Greek Tragedy,” 6/18). I remember the Omega pledges at the University of Delaware going through their long, loud, and frankly obnoxious drills in the dining halls. No one could continue a conversation over them. We couldn’t understand why anyone would endure it. Little did we know what else they endured.
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But Ruffins’ article gave me a better understanding of the desire for a lifelong bond that especially motivates black pledges. They probably don’t know what they’re in for when they start, and there’s a macho reluctance to quit when others are continuing to endure the escalating abuse. The abuse strikes me as a form of internalized oppression that is perversely magnified in black fraternities. I hope that when universities and the national officers of fraternities look the other way, they will be held personally liable. That, along with reporting like Ruffins’, might help deter the abusive behavior and “underground” pledging that he so forcefully described.
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