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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Fraternities and sororities are appropriating Greek culture

An article published on Sept. 5 by USA Today discussing fraternity deaths mentioned the word “Greek” 14 times. 

When hazing gets mentioned in the news, somewhere further down the sentence there is bound to be the word “Greek” associated with it.

As a Greek-American, it is disheartening to see my country’s language mixing with — and often becoming lost in — the names and actions of fraternity and sorority organizations. 

There is a misconception that Greek culture is reflected in these organizations. It is not. This is cultural appropriation and it needs to change now. 

In 2016, UC Merced recognized that Greek culture is appropriated by fraternities and sororities and issued a change in the terms the organizations used. “Greek Life” became “Fraternity and Sorority Life.” 

Some didn’t understand why using Greek in Greek life was offensive. 

“Who are we offending? Greek people? Our traditions have continued for over 200 years. Greek Life is part of our own American university culture,” said Harry Duran, a student at UC Merced during the term change, to The College Fix, a right-minded news organization.

Greek culture has been diluted into ignorance, as college students hijack a culture they know nothing about. 

These “Greek Life” organizations are infamously known for their initiations, parties and hazing. While not every fraternity or sorority has incidents of hazing, it happens far too often to not mention it. 

Hank Nuwer, a professor at Franklin College in Indiana, took it upon himself for 40 years to write down every hazing-related death. “The USA had at least one death every year except 1958 from 1953 to 2019,” Nuwer said on his website

Being forced to participate in demeaning challenges for a group’s acceptance is not what I want my culture to be associated with.

In 1923, five years before Greek Life was established at SF State, an estimated million Greeks were slaughtered by the Ottoman Empire. This was done in an effort to “eradicate the Christian Greek minority” in current-day Turkey, according to the Greek Genocide Resource Center

While my ancestors are no longer being slaughtered by outsiders, outsiders within “Greek” life are slaughtering my language without one mention of their knowledge of Greece’s past. 

Furthermore, they are completely dismissing the issues happening in Greece. The country has been in an economic distress since 2009 yet no proceeds from any fraternities or sororities were given towards that. In 2018 a series of wildfires started in Attica, killing around 102 people- yet no proceeds went to rebuilding the houses and families that were lost. 

To be blunt, seeing people wear my country’s letters infuriates me. But, the fact that there are currently no clubs on campus for those of Greek descent, to learn about Greek culture or to honor the history of Greece drives a knife through my heart. 


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  • M

    MichelleMar 20, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    I’m of Greek ancestry. I don’t get offended or care. Let the kids party. Wear a toga, a sombrero, a kimono! Have at it. I’m offended at how offended everyone gets.

  • S

    StalloMar 8, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Amen! And thank you for having expressed my anger so eloquently!!

    I am so very, very exasperated (irritated, annoyed, fill in whatever word you want) with the same inane remarks….
    “OMG, like, you’re GREEK? OMG, like, what sorority?”
    Yes, I wear a toga to work and drink myself into a stupor every night.

    They even have a “Panhellenic Council”. Really? Do they even know from where the word “panhellenic” was derived and what this means?

    My Greek cousins were appalled when I described this cultural misappropriation.

    Pfffff…. it’s time we united and follow the example set by the indigenous tribes who took against one famous football team from Washington.

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Fraternities and sororities are appropriating Greek culture