Hispanic student group protests sorority house for 'culturally insensitive costumes'
A Hispanic student group protested outside the Tri-Delt sorority house after girls wore sombreros and mustaches.
Greek life sent out an email about appropriate costumes and how to avoid “harmful racial stereotypes.”
Protesters refused to accept sorority’s apology.
A group of Hispanic protesters shouted “our culture’s not a costume” outside a sorority house at the University of Arizona Monday evening after sorority members were seen dancing in sombreros and mustaches.
Angie Loreto, a Mexican American studies graduate student at the University of Arizona (UA) and a member of the Hispanic student group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan (MEChA), told The Daily Wildcat, that six members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, or Tri-Delt, were seen wearing the props and “dancing very inappropriately” outside the house.
Loreto later returned to the house and confronted members about their behavior. One girl responded to Loreto’s concerns saying they were just supporting a member of Tri-Delt who is Hispanic, and the sorority’s vice president of public relations, Jordan Allison, later wrote an email to Loreto explaining that “another member of the sorority would be dressing as a mariachi dancer because she is a part of a local mariachi group,” according to The Daily Wildcat.
“As someone that knows about the culture of mariachis, you don’t really use that to make any kind of silly statements like this,” responded Loreto.
Loreto allegedly filmed the sorority members justifying the antics by explaining, “We have some sisters who are of your culture.”
Loreto and some MEChA members returned to the house, in protest of the girls’ “cultural insensitivity,” chanting“Mustaches! Sombreros! That’s not okay!” Eventually some fraternity member joined in the chant, further angering the group.
Earlier that day, UA’s fraternity and sorority programs sent out an email addressing the issue of “racially insensitive costumes” and provided attached criteria to determine if one’s outfit is appropriate to wear.
“Too often under the guise of humor or being ‘sexy,’ people wear costumes which perpetuate harmful racial stereotypes,” read the email.
In an attempt to stop the protests, a member of the sorority stepped outside to address the MEChA members.
“We have no tolerance for that,” a sorority member who wished to remain to The Daily Wildcat. “We don’t support it. We don’t condone it. … We want you to know we’re very sorry this happened.”
Afterwards, the girls involved were told to remove their costumes by the sorority’s leadership.
“We appreciate your apology, but it’s too late,” Loreto told the sorority.
MEChA participants later hand-delivered a note to Tri-Delt, along with two posters that read, “My culture is not a costume” and “brown is beautiful.”
“It’s Halloween season and we don’t want to see anyone else to do this or to marginalize people or make mockery of anyone’s culture [if] it’s Mexican American or any other culture,” MEChA member Jose Guadalupe-Conchas told The Daily Wildcat.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaggieLitCRO