Outrage over the video of Oklahoma University fraternity partiers singing a racist video is rolling forward.
The only people not apologizing are those voicing outrage and some people are apologizing and expressing outrage, both at once. African American students express hurt and betrayal.
“These are the same people who are shaking my hand after I score a touchdown,” one football player said. An African American alumnus of this fraternity said that watching the video was “like getting punched.”
The two young men who have been identified as participants in this video have received death threats via twitter and Facebook. They have both been expelled from the school. A protest is being planned at the Dallas home of one of the young men.
The plot thickened when one of the young men who has been identified as a participant in singing the racist chant, Parker Rice, said that the chant had been taught to members of the fraternity. That moves the issue from the behavior of a few young men to a question of the behavior of the entire fraternity.
As I said in an earlier post, the Greek system at OU is almost a separate university within the larger university community. There are bigger questions about that system which need to be addressed than just this one video.
“I hope they think long and hard about what they’ve done,” OU’s president David Boren said of the young men. “They won’t be back,” he added, referring to his decision to expel the two students, “not while I’m president of this university.”
Here are the apologies of the one of the young men and the family of the other.
I am deeply sorry for what I did Saturday night. It was wrong and reckless. I made a horrible mistake by joining into the singing and encouraging others to do the same. On Monday, I withdrew from the university, and sadly, at this moment our family is not able to be in our home because of threatening calls as well as frightening talk on social media.
I know everyone wants to know why or how this happened. I admit it likely was fueled by alcohol consumed at the house before the bus trip, but that’s not an excuse. Yes, the song was taught to us, but that too doesn’t work as an explanation. It’s more important to acknowledge what I did and what I didn’t do. I didn’t say no, and I clearly dismissed an important value I learned at my beloved high school, Dallas Jesuit. We were taught to be ‘Men for Others.’ I failed in that regard, and in those moments, I also completely ignored the core values and ethics I learned from my parents and others.
At this point, all I can do is be thoughtful and prayerful about my next steps, but I am also concerned about the fraternity friends still on campus. Apparently, they are feeling unsafe and some have been harassed by others. Hopefully, the university will protect them.
For me, this is a devastating lesson and I am seeking guidance on how I can learn from this and make sure it never happens again. My goal for the long-term is to be a man who has the heart and the courage to reject racism wherever I see or experience it in the future.
Thank you for your consideration of my deepest apologies for what I did.
As parents of Levi, we love him and care for him deeply. He made a horrible mistake, and will live with the consequences forever. However, we also know the depth of our son’s character. He is a good boy, but what we saw in those videos is disgusting. While it may be difficult for those who only know Levi from the video to understand, we know his heart, and he is not a racist. We raised him to be loving and inclusive and we all remain surrounded by a diverse, close-knit group of friends.
We were as shocked and saddened by this news as anyone. Of course, we are sad for our son – but more importantly, we apologize to the community he has hurt. We would also like to apologize to the – entire African American community, University of Oklahoma student body and administration. Our family has the responsibility to apologize, and also to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Our words will only go so far – as a family, we commit to following our words with deeds.
To our friends and family, thank you for your kind comments and prayers. They are very comforting in this difficult time.
We ask that the media and public please respect our family’s privacy as we come together to heal and determine next steps.
This is a video of an interview of an African American alumnus of this same fraternity.