Tag Archives: fraternities

Is Burning Sands About Brotherhood?

The other night we watched Burning Sands. This movie chronicles Hell Week at a fictional black college. I am married to a Greek and his lips are sealed when it comes to his fraternity life. So as we watched the abuse that the brothers endured in the name of brotherhood we were left with the question why? Why would any reasonable person willingly surrender themselves to this kind of sadistic ritual? It is all done in the name of brotherhood? So who decided that beating men with paddles until they bled, or dunking young men into a swimming pool while blindfolded was the path to brotherhood. When were these rules established? Did the first brothers who were former slaves or one generation from slavery establish the rules? Did they still have the marks of slavery on their backs when they were beating the future generation of brothers? Universities brag about the abolishment of hazing, but most people know it did not die it simply went underground. This kind of behavior exists and each year a fresh group of young people surrender to the harsh tactics in search of acceptance by an exalted peer group. They justify the sadistic treatment because they see what they interpret to be the greater good. The question is how do you really stop hazing? If you are a member of a fraternity and you were hazed then you actually think it is your right to haze future members, but at what point is enough enough? In the movie a concerned professor tried to offer help to one of the young men pledging but he never admitted to the abuse because he still wanted the honor of being a brother. The dean was a fraternity member and he know what was going on, but he turned a blind eye to the truth. When we hear of gang member being jumped by other gang members we think that this behavior if abhorrent, but we accept the ritualistic beating required to be called brother? Please explain the difference. My spouse who will not admit to be hazed says the difference is there is a choice. You choose to join a fraternity, but in the gang analogy often gang members don’t have a choice. Yes, choice is important. Fraternities do not scoop up young men and make them become members. They choose to become members and with that choice comes consequences. Rarely does a pledge not know what will happen and they still join undeterred. Burning Sands is a work of fiction and we do not believe that all fraternities engage in this kind of illicit activity but sadly some do. Rarely are lives lost but one life lost is one too many. We believe in brotherhood and we are proud to see young men cross over but we weep for the things they had to endure to make the crossover journey and we yearn for the day that hazing will truly be a thing of the pass and not simply something we refuse to talk about.