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Frat Boys on the Bus


Frat Boys on the Bus

Robert C. Koehler

“You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me . . .”

Yeah, something had to happen. The cellphone video went public and the frat boys on the bus, who were just having a little politically incorrect fun, y’know, singing about Jim Crow exclusionary practices and, well, lynching, suddenly found themselves thrust into a national context, embarrassing the hell out of their fraternity and their school.


The president of the University reacts in horror. “That’s not us,” he says. In a way he is right because the normative racial attitude is the more vieled dog whistle racism. Racism that denies it is racist- it just happens to hate those lazy, dumb, free loading people who live in urban areas and happen to be black-but don’t call me a racist. This is the official overwhelming attitude among white Oakie Sooner students. But you know sometimes when in a group of like minded racists the sheer cathartic release of being able to express the unalloyed racism that is in their hearts becomes overwhelming. There is a pure joy which you can see in their faces in being able to express who they really are if only for a moment before having to retreat into the guarded pseudo respectability of the dog whistle. The racism in that part of the world, broadly identified as the South is deep, almost universal and controlling of the politics in the region. I wish these states would secede They have a sick, degenerate and hating culture and I can tell you that the very sound of a southern or hill billy twang fIlls me with an automatic revulsion.


The fraternity and intercollegiate athletic systems are the primary focus for university life in much of America. Mention a college and many Americans of a certain class will ask “What did he play?” or “Where did he pledge?” From their point of view, they are right to ask such questions since they point to the tribal bonding which will sustain the student throughout a privileged life, providing at its highest level access to vast unearned wealth, as on Wall Sreet, and at lower levels a membership in the right clubs and access to lesser business deals in places like Tulsa or little Rock. The fact that the fraternity boys, or team members, choose to mock non-members is natural since everything in their culture leads them to believe that they are better and more deserving than those excluded from their ranks. People are shocked when this necessary attitude manifests itself as a no longer fashionable anti-black racism, but would not be distressed if the boys were mocking dorks, dweebs, goths, hippies or some other vaguely defined out-group.

An economic system dependent on inequality will inevitably produce such obnoxious attitudes in young people selected for benefits that on some level they know that they have not earned and do not deserve.


the very sound of a southern or hill billy twang fIlls me with an automatic revulsion.

You’re making yourself sound as narrow minded as the subjects of this article.



The participants [in lynching] caught in these photos clearly had no more idea what they were doing than the boys on the bus did.

I’m sorry but I’m not buying this observation. Racist behavior is an expression of contempt. Both the rural whites murdering people because of their race and the snot-nosed boys on the bus knew what they were doing.



Good points. The racism today is the same racism as always, save for one thing - they don’t utter the word “nigger” and they condemn those that do. But little else has changed. I’d be curious to see what has happened to black enrollment at universities since the end of affirmative action if it is like my experience at Virginia Tech, or U of Pittsburgh, it went way down. What still happens to neighborhood home prices when black families move in percentages any more than a few percent. What is the racial makeup of most decent workplaces? Who gets stopped harassed and occasionally summarily executed by the police for merely existing?

And please dear northerners and west-coasters, it is especially in the north that all the rhetorical questions above are answered: “plummets”, “virtually all white”, “blacks”. Greater Pittsburgh is more overtly racist than any southern city I’ve lived in, and I hear cities like Boston and Detroit are even worse.


Exactly - that is a form or racism (I myself hate the snobbery of the west coast accent - oh, that’s right - you don’t talk with an accent, only us!) There are actually dozens of different southern accents - most of them (plus the Louisiana Acadian-French language) rapidly dying under the cultural homogenation of capitalism.

Then there are all the distinctive city-centered accents of the northeast US - Pittsburgh, Philly, the New York Boroughs, Boston - all dying too…

This “revulsion” expressed by the writer is especially repulsive when one considers that the most overt modern-day racial discrimination is practiced in northern cities and California.


Maybe so, there must be some decent southerners who aren’t racist. I just haven’t met them and likely never will.


And we can look at patriarchy–the foundation stone of sexism, racism, and all systems of privilege based on hierarchy.


Most are Bible thumpers… but you left that salient fact out of your diatribe.