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You are here: Home / MPRC People / Rashawn Ray, Ph.D. / Rashawn Ray Bibliography / Fraternity Life at Predominantly White Universities in the US: The Saliency of Race

Rashawn Ray (2013)

Fraternity Life at Predominantly White Universities in the US: The Saliency of Race

Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(2):320-336.

Research comparing the experiences of black and white fraternities in the same university context has been relatively absent. Because black and white fraternities often face different normative institutional arrangements (e.g. community size, living arrangements and organizational structure), it is important to examine how these arrangements shape fraternity men's interactions with the broader student community, other Greek-letter organizations and university officials. Using data from an ethnographic study with fifty-two men in three white and four black fraternities at a predominantly white institution, this paper demonstrates that a large community size, private on-campus fraternity house, gender-specific Greek council and influential alumni afford white fraternity men the privilege of being held less accountable for their interactions with others. Due to the small black student and Greek communities and gender-neutral Greek council, black fraternity men are held more accountable for their interactions with others and become marked for their racial and fraternal identities. These findings have implications for the interactions blacks have in predominately white environments.

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