An African-American alumnus of OU’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter is now reacting to what he saw.
“It’s like getting punched in the stomach,” Jonathon Davis, who was an active SAE member at OU from 1998 to 2002.
Davis, who now lives in the Denver area, recalls his time in the fraternity fondly.
“They were diverse—they had diverse socio-economic backgrounds, diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds and you could really feel they were all truly friends and good people,” Davis said, adding that members during his time included Asians and Hispanics. “And that’s why I joined.”
When Davis saw the video, he was shocked.
He says that kind of behavior would never have been tolerated by the fraternity when he was a member.
“We did embrace diversity-and somewhere along the line, everything went off the rails,” Davis said.
‘It’s like getting punched in the stomach,’ African-American alumnus of OU’s SAE chapter reacts to racist video | KFOR.com
While the Oklahoma frat has never had a lot of black members, that didn't matter to James when he joined in 2001. SAE was where he forged lifelong friendships, where he and others grew into men.
That's what James thinks that his own fraternity brothers would've done, whether he was around or not.
They understood the importance of stepping up to say: "This isn't right, this isn't what I stand for, this isn't gentlemanly, this isn't even human," he said. "That's what being an SAE is."
"My pledge class ... wouldn't let that happen," he said. "And I don't know what's happened to (the Oklahoma SAE chapter) since then."
"That entire house has accepted the culture that accepts that song, those words, that imagery," James said. "So the whole house has to be punished."
His former frat brothers are different from him, of course. Their skin color wouldn't have stopped them from getting into SAE if the twisted chant reflected reality.
Still, James feels their pain is real and sincere. Those on this weekend's video may not be his brothers, but those he knew from 2001 to 2005 still are.
"I don't think that they can fully encompass the pain and betrayal that I feel," James said of his white friends from the fraternity. "But by holding me so close in their life, they know that their brother was hurt."
Black U. of Oklahoma SAE alumnus: 'They are not my brothers' - CNN.com