Last night at the Oscars, Chris Rock gave a racially charged opening monologue about Hollywood’s racism in light of the fact that there weren’t any black nominees this year. He made light of a heavy situation — the monologue was riddled with jokes, one of which, as a sorority website, we have to talk about.
(Turn sound on)
There are three ways sorority girls can — and did — take this. They could be wildly offended by it because they believe their organization is accepting, and diverse, and they want to fight the stereotype.
Yes Hollywood is "sorority racist". Because being Greek is a PRIVILEGE it's not a RIGHT #Oscars2016
— Napatsakorn Boonyoo (@gaan229) February 29, 2016
— megan fussell (@megfusselI) February 29, 2016
Really not appreciating the jab at sororities…. #Oscars2016
— Kaitlynd Valentini (@kavers13) February 29, 2016
I am traveling the country to prove to myself. and anyone who wants to know, that this stereotype is not true #sororityracist
— Daphney Rose (@thedaph28) February 29, 2016
Chris Rock said Hollywood is "sorority racist" but my sorority definitely has more black women in it than Hollywood
— Jordan Allen (@JordanB_Allen16) February 29, 2016
@erinoverman us Kappas appreciate the shoutout, Chris Rock. We also appreciate the stereotype. Wait… Isn't that what you're trying to end?
— Erin Nowitzki (@erinoverman) February 29, 2016
They could agree that this is a serious problem, and argue that we need to be doing better.
"Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, 'We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.'" Spot-on Greek life comparison, bravo @ChrisRock.
— Jessica Marriott (@jess_marriott) February 29, 2016
Or they could laugh.
Chris Rock talking about "sorority racist" couldn't be more accurate 😂😭😂💀💀💀
— Alexandra (@alexxandraakatt) February 29, 2016
Oh come on that sorority joke was on point 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻#Oscars
— Kate (@katethewasp) February 29, 2016
I laughed out loud at the sorority joke…"We like you Rhonda, but you're not a Kappa." #Oscars 😂😂
— Abbie (@abbiesoss) February 29, 2016
But really? The fact of the matter is, the mention of sororities wasn’t supposed to be the takeaway. Race issues — in Hollywood, and the rest of the world — were supposed to be the takeaway. The joke isn’t really about you. Unless you’re an Alpha Phi from Alabama. Then it’s about you.
There is a race issue at some schools, yes, and it needs to be battled. This is the job of the sorority girls at the schools where it’s an issue, but also the adults — the advisors, and administrators, and national representatives — whose full-time job it is to think about recruitment and figure out a way to entice women of color to go out for Panhellenic recruitment. While sorority girls need to be a part of this conversation and give a shit, they can still only give bids to the girls who show up.
If there isn’t a race issue at your school — if there genuinely is not — then you shouldn’t give a shit, because everyone can look around and see that. The only thing you need to do to “fight the stereotype” is live your life in a way that proves it isn’t true. In this case, that just means not being fucking racist. When you meet people in the real world, no one is really stereotyping you. You can’t truly be “stereotyped” on the basis of something you chose. You self-selected into this system and if you have the choice to leave it, you’re not oppressed. You can’t be. Because oppression means you can’t change your circumstance on your own.
And if you laughed? Congratulations, you had the reaction you were supposed to have.
Watch the full monologue below.