Frat Bros Manage To Make Christmas Cards Offensive

When one thinks of organizations characterized by their respectful, considerate, and thoughtful behavior, fraternities are probably the last groups to ever come to mind. And just to reinforce that general impression, UPenn's Phi Delta Theta fraternity's Christmas Card includes a blow-up sex doll. And because it wouldn't be a fraternity stunt if it weren't as offensive as possible, the almost all-white fraternity used a "Beyoncé" sex doll — which kind of looks more like a doll in blackface than the actual Queen B. And yeah, basically everything here is awful.

After the brothers posted the racist and sexist photo on Facebook, the campus community was understandably upset. A joint statement from five of the university's groups for students of color on campus stated that, "The inclusion of a racially and sexually charged object in such a flagrant fashion displays a serious and immediate need for repercussions that reflect the severity of this misogynistic, racist offense." Which pretty much sums it up.

The fact that any of these frat brothers thought including a sex doll — especially a black sex doll — in their Christmas card was remotely acceptable says a lot not just about their attitude towards women and people of color, but also their obliviousness as to how most people feel about fraternities right about now. I mean, this wasn't just a bunch of guys broadcasting the fact that they think it's totally OK to see women as sex objects, but was also part of a larger pattern of fraternities behaving badly — or abominably.

It isn't just the frat house at UVA featured in a Rolling Stone article about a horrific gang rape that had people justifiably calling for the university to ban all fraternities. In their less evil downtime, frat brothers apparently engage in wacky hijinks like throwing racist parties, making "Yes Means Anal" banners, hiring their fellow frat brothers to ogle women, writing super creepy guides to "getting laid," and occasionally trying to take over a school. And this is just the stuff they get caught doing.

In this sort of context, including a "Beyoncé" sex doll in your Christmas card doesn't seem out of place at all. Though if anything, that just makes it worse.

The fraternity has since apologized, explaining that the doll was originally a gag gift and that including it in their Christmas photo was wrong. Though they claim it was not their intent to be racist, they also acknowledged "the absence of racial motivation is no justification for this act of poor judgement and the decision not to include a sex toy in a holiday picture should have been an easy one.”

No kidding it should have been an easy one. So how is it that no one in this group of 29 boys thought to say, "Hey, do you think including what looks like the inflatable embodiment of blackface might be bad? Or at least, like, get us in trouble?" Because never mind showing actual sensitivity and thoughtfulness; honestly at this point, I'd settle for fraternities showing more than occasional flickers of awareness that people who are not straight white men exist and might get angry when insulted. You'd think some sense of self-preservation might have driven that lesson home by now, but alas.

So, for the record, frat boys: Anytime you demonstrate a lack of respect for people who are not straight, white, and male, that is bad and people will get angry at you. In an ideal world you would actually find it within yourselves to actually respect other people — not just claim you do and call it a day — but if you can't do that, you have to at least pretend. As a society, we don't expect much, but we do expect at least that. Everyone else in the world already understands this. Please catch up.