Racism

Second SAE Video: Even the 79-Year-Old House Mother Was a Racist

First Amendment experts react to the University of Oklahoma news.

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Racist
Vine

Beauton Gilbow, the 79-year-old house mother of the University of Oklahoma's Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter, denied that she had ever heard the brothers engaged in the kind of racist chanting caught on video recently. But according to a Vine uncovered by BuzzFeed, Gilbow had actually participated in some racially-charged singing at SAE herself. Watch that here.

Gilbow recently appeared alongside friend Barry Switzer—an SAE alum and former OU football coach—to insist that nothing like this had ever happened:

"Did you ever get any indication there was anything like this going on?" News 9's Kelly Ogle asked.

"No, no, no. Never heard the song," Gilbow responded.

Switzer maintained that the infamous video was not representative of the brothers at SAE:

I spent some time over here, and I know what they're like. I wouldn't put up with that crap, and they don't either, and they don't believe in it.

It's tough to accept his evaluation, however, given that he's sitting next to a liar. The evidence so far suggests that the latest (and final) incarnation of OU's SAE had serious problems with racial insensitivity, and may have illegally discriminated against black applicants to the fraternity. The national organization was right to kick them to the curb.

The actions of OU President David Boren are less wise. The Competitive Enterprise Institute's Hans Bader and The Washington Post's Eugene Volokh have pushed back against Boren's notion that he has any right to expel students for offensive but constitutionally-protected speech. Volokh writes:

Oklahoma University president David Boren said, "If I'm allowed to, these students will face suspension or expulsion." But he is not, I think, allowed to do that.

1. First, racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech. That has been the unanimous view of courts that have considered campus speech codes and other campus speech restrictions — see here for some citations. The same, of course, is true for fraternity speech, racist or otherwise; see Iota Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity v. George Mason University (4th Cir. 1993). (I set aside the separate question of student speech that is evaluated as part of coursework or class participation, which necessary must be evaluated based on its content; this speech clearly doesn't qualify.)

2. Likewise, speech doesn't lose its constitutionally protection just because it refers to violence — "You can hang him from a tree," "the capitalists will be the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes," "by any means necessary" with pictures of guns, "apostates from Islam should be killed."

3. To be sure, in specific situations, such speech might fall within a First Amendment exception. One example is if it is likely to be perceived as a "true threat" of violence (e.g., saying "apostates from Islam will be killed" or "we'll hang you from a tree" to a particular person who will likely perceive it as expressing the speaker's intention to kill him); but that's not the situation here, where the speech wouldn't have been taken by any listener as a threat against him or her. Another is if it intended to solicit a criminal act, or to create a conspiracy to commit a criminal act, but, vile as the "hang him from a tree" is, neither of these exceptions are applicable here, either.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education makes the same point:

As a private organization, the SAE national fraternity is free to punish the chapter, as it has done. Other citizens and groups are free to refuse to associate with the fraternity members based on their expression, and students, faculty, and administrators may of course condemn it. If the expression itself is evidence of other unlawful activity, such activity may be investigated. But the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled time and time again that government institutions like the University of Oklahoma may not punish people for expression protected by the First Amendment.

By all means, private entities can punish racism whatever way they see fit. And if SAE engaged in illegal, racially discriminatory practices, it can be punished for that. But students can't be formally punished for their statements—no matter how shockingly offensive those statements are. And as I noted previously, expulsion is the exact wrong way to confront racist attitudes in this situation, if the goal is to educate these students about why their words were grossly insensitive.

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  1. Jesus Christ, thank you SO much. What the world needs is MOAR SAE RACISTSZZ!!!1!!111!

    Also, fried chicken.

    1. There’s too much racism, but there’s also too much censorship. The University is now invoking Title VI (which bans racial discrimination in colleges that receive federal funds). But that doesn’t make any First Amendment problem go away. First, as courts have noted, racial harassment laws are limited by the First Amendment in the college setting. See, e.g., UWM Post v. Board of Regents, 774 F.Supp. 1163 (E.D. Wis. 1991) (invalidating college’s racial harassment policy, which could reach racist speech that did not amount to fighting words; “since Title VII is merely a statute, it cannot supersede the requirements of the First Amendment”); Rodriguez v. Maricopa Community College, 605 F.3d 703 (9th Cir. 2010) (dismissing racial harassment lawsuit over racially-charged anti-immigration emails, because of First Amendment free speech rights.). Second, by itself, the racist chanting, despite its horribleness, would not be deemed to create a racially hostile environment, as I explain in my comment further below, even assuming speech automatically loses its First Amendment protection when it creates a hostile environment (contrary to what the appeals court said in the Rodriguez case).

  2. So it was a woman behind all of this racism and perpetuating the rape culture. Perhaps she’s the source of all racial and sexual tensions in America?

    1. There’s always a woman to blame.

      1. Are you positing that she provided these mostly underage boys with margaritas as well? Damn her and her corrupting influence!

        1. Stop questioning me! I just stepped on a pop top!

          1. How’s your flip flops?

            1. Blew em out.

    2. Behind every racist frat boy is a racist, sexist, homophobic, dried up old hag of a harpie

      1. I feel we’ve uncovered some deep and fundamental truth here.

  3. The evidence so far suggests that the latest (and final) incarnation of OU’s SAE had serious problems with racial insensitivity, and may have illegally discriminated against black applicants to the fraternity.

    They aren’t the problem, the law is.

    :::smacks Rico on the nose with a rolled up copy of the 1st Amendment:::

  4. Second SAE Video: Even the 79-Year-Old House Mother Was a Racist

    But was she a “deeply evil” racist?

    I need more signaling to know where you really stand.

    1. Cut him some slack. Despite his ethnic-seeming name, he’s virtually Aryan. You know who else was Aryan? That’s right. And he Rico needs to distance himself from that.

      1. Rico from Starship Troopers? He was a badass.

  5. Alt-headline: 79 year old white woman who oversees young people who make racist chants has unfortunate and bigoted views about blacks, no one surprised.

  6. FTR. I wouldn’t take Barry Switzer’s word on anything other than how to run the wishbone.

  7. Gilbow recently appeared alongside friend Barry Switzer?an SAE alum and former OU football coach?to insist that nothing like this had ever happened:

    “Did you ever get any indication there was anything like this going on?” News 9’s Kelly Ogle asked.

    “No, no, no. Never heard the song,” Gilbow responded.

    Sounds like these people would be good choices to carry guns for the state, enforce its laws and make a union wage.

  8. What’s the criminal statute for Gross Insensitivity?

    3-5 OMG I Don’t Even?

  9. I didn’t realize the Society of Automotive Engineers had a house mother.

    1. This helps explain the questions on the SAE tests.

    2. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who reads it that way. Every. Single. Time.

    3. Is she certified?

    4. And I keep thinking, “I bet there’s a Metric frat for all the Europeans and Asians….”

      1. Yeah, but it is a bitch trying to convert imperial hazings to metric hazings.

        1. That’s what a SLIDE RULE is for! Duh!

          *glares at Pope Jimbo*

    5. “I didn’t realize the Society of Automotive Engineers had a house mother.”

      That’s not what it stands for.

      1. Imperialist!

  10. “And as I noted previously, expulsion is the exact wrong way to confront racist attitudes in this situation, if the goal is to educate these students about why their words were grossly insensitive.”

    I think most if not all of them already know that their words were grossly insensitive. I would argue that part of being a racist is knowing that your dehumanization of others causes them emotional and mental discomfort or even anguish. Even my cracker coworker born and raised in the whitest part of Gringolandia knows this.

    [The last line was unserious]

  11. It is depressing. The University is now citing Title VI (a federal race discrimination law). But this doesn’t make the potential First Amendment problem go away. First, as judges have observed, racial harassment laws are subject to the First Amendment limits. See, e.g., UWM Post , Inc. v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Wisconsin System, 774 F. Supp. 1163 (E.D. Wis. 1991) (invalidating college’s racial harassment policy, which could reach racist speech that did not amount to fighting words, “since Title VII is merely a statute, it cannot supersede the requirements of the First Amendment”); Rodriguez v. Maricopa Community College, 605 F.3d 703 (9th Cir. 2010) (dismissing racial harassment lawsuit over racially-charged anti-immigration emails, because of First Amendment free speech rights.).

    Second, all by itself, the hateful chanting would not be deemed severe enough to create a racially hostile environment in any event. That is especially true if they occurred off campus like a charter bus going somewhere else. Appeals court rulings like Lam v. University of Missouri, 122 F.3d 654 (8th Cir. 1997) have typically rejected harassment claims against schools under based on individuals’ conduct ? even serious misconduct like “off-campus assaults” — outside of school.

    The Supreme Court has said that even hate speech is protected speech under the First Amendment. See, e.g., R.A.V. v. St. Paul (1992).

    1. It’s a bit of a tightrope for the college administrator though, isn’t it? SCOTUS has definitely said that some nearly entirely verbal behavior can warrant a Title VII cause of action in Harris v. Forklift Systems. It’s asking them quite a bit to figure out what a jury will find to be ‘severe’ enough to warrant a finding of a ‘hostile’ work or educational environment…If the school knew of a pattern of this kind of thing and did nothing then a sympathetic plaintiff could win a suit.

      1. There is a long league’s difference between SAE’s song on their chartered bus and the sexual psychological abuse in Harris v. Forklift Systems. There is no tightrope.

        1. At which step of notice of such behavior would you, as an administrator, feel you had to step in?

          1. Possibly when SAE told the black applicant at the recruitment table during rush that they “hang niggers from trees rather than admit them.” That statement could possibly be perceived as a direct threat. I don’t know. I’d have to give it much more research and thought. When would you step in as an administrator at a public institution?

            1. Take it easy, I’m pre-law.

              /Botard

              1. Pre-law? I thought you were pre-med.

                1. What’s the difference ?

  12. So lets get the media mafia to totally demonize and ruin the life of some fraternity house mother in Oklahoma because she doesn’t hold the correct political views. Why the hell is Reason participating in this? Maybe the woman is a horrible person. I don’t know. I have never met her. Even if she is, so what? There are a lot of horrible people out there. Since when is having lousy racial views make someone worthy for national scorn and ridicule?

    The mass media has a power of its own. It has the power to essentially ruin people’s lives. Sometimes people deserve it. Sometimes even if they don’t, doing so is unavoidable because of the news value of the story. This is not one of those times. This is nothing that is important enough to deserve national attention and this woman’s actions, whatever they are, are not worthy of being made into a national racial scape goat. But don’t let that stop you from doing it Robby. Just keep it classy. Nothing says hard core journalism like going over a House Mother at a fraternity.

    1. Did you think the story of the student organization that questioned whether a Jewish student could be a fair member of judicial board should have gone national?

      1. I mean, it was just a couple of knucklehead undergrads with some very lousy racial (ethnic) views, was reporting the story, along with the students names, worthy of the national scorn and ridicule that followed?

        1. Except they held positions in student government and were in the process of trying to deny someone a position on the basis of them being Jewish. Not the same as a drunken statement made by a house mother. You of course will never admit that and I apologize to the board for wasting my time trying to explain it to you.

          1. Ahem. John?

          2. So, what about the conservative activist student who displayed an Israeli and then a ISIS flag in order to record how students reacted negatively to the former and not the latter? No official action there, just knucklehead students. When that got reported, including here, did you have the same reaction?

      2. Those were public statements made in the process of official duties, as opposed to private statements made by someone who holds no official position.

        You are to false analogies what I am to typos only you have less style and are much cruder.

        1. Official student body duties?

          1. Yes dumb ass. Student governments dole out student fees and give out official positions of some importance. Moreover, that case involved people actually trying to harm someone and deny them a position because they were Jewish. If you have tape of this women trying to get a black person kicked off campus or denied entry into a fraternity, then produce it and she can take the public ridicule she deserves.

            1. “that case involved people actually trying to harm someone and deny them a position because they were Jewish. ”

              Nothing like chanting about how you’d deny someone a position or membership in your school recognized fraternity?

    2. Why the hell is Reason participating in this?<?I

      Reason’s assiduous political correctness hasn’t been obvious?

    3. ” Since when is having lousy racial views make someone worthy for national scorn and ridicule?”

      I have a vague memory of someone named ‘Donald Silver’ who said un-charitable things, and consequently had to sell a basketball team.

      On the other hand, i have a vague(r) memory of someone named Leonard Jeffries who actually taught some crazy fucking racist shit in class at a publicly-funded university, was subsequently fired, but then sued and *got his job back*, and still teaches there today (AFAIK)

      But hey, that’s NYC, not Oklahoma. Different standards.

      1. Sterling and Jeffries were at least to some degree public figures. If you want to be a “public intellectual” or own a professional sports team, you assume a certain amount of celebrity and the risk that goes with it. This woman is none of those things. This is just Soave and others stomping on some women so they can feel good about themselves.

        1. Jeffries was paid $400K. I’m sure this old house frau would love a payday like that.

          1. Jeffries was paid $400K

            “uh…. He was right! White people are Ice Devils from another planet!! Jews created the slave trade! AIDS is a conspiracy to repress black virility!! Anyone? Hey ho!? Little help here….” (holds hat out)

        2. John,

          She gave an interview to a TV reporter. She sat next to a blubbering Switzer and attempted to claim that the original video was an aberration. That puts her into the public spot light and fair game for the vine video. It addresses the credibility of her claims that SAE never had any racial issues to her knowledge.

          If she had not given an interview and had just packed up her bags and left, I’d agree with your statement that the press was shitty for outing her.

          1. Let’s not confuse this with facts, we’re trying to protect white people from anti-racism here!

            1. STFU Bo.

              John usually argues in good faith and brings things to the table (even if they are a bit more GOPish than I prefer). Sometimes, he goes off the deep end, but that is the exception.

              Your attempts to make John out as some sort of crypto racist is just annoying.

              My guess is that John’s defense of this woman is due a reflexive need to oppose anything you say and a weariness of the constant outrage machine that the media goes into.

              If you want to go after John for something substantive, call him out for being a chubby chaser.

              1. “something substantive”

                I see what you did there.

              2. John is faithfull to his wife, ergo, not a chubby-chaser.

  13. OU has expelled two of the students.

    http://www.koco.com/news/ou-in…..t/31686542

    They will receive a tidy settlement after the school loses in court.

    1. “To those who have misused their free speech in such a reprehensible way, I have a message for you. ”

      I’m gonna stop you right there, “president”.

    2. At some point, we’re going to have to reconcile harassment and hostile environments with the freedom of speech and association. In theory, the latter trumps the former, as most of the law around the former is statutory, not constitutional. Like that matters anymore.

      1. Freedom of association died with the CRA. Freedom of speech is still sacrosanct much to the chagrin of thin-skinned pussies everywhere. OU will pay out in the end either through settlement or legal fees + damages. Justice is inexorable.

        1. You are aware that there were some not-insignificant restrictions on freedom of association before the CRA was enacted? You’ve heard of this little thing called Jim Crow, right?

  14. 2 things.

    1) The house mom appears to be very drunk in that Vine. And a lot of house moms are alcoholics. Free booze.

    2) I don’t see her doing the same chant as the SAE members. She was more likely trying to sing this song.

    Furthermore, who gives a fuck?

    1. All of that in more. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone who isn’t an SAE or attends OU should care about this story let alone the actions of the evil house mother. Shame on Reason for participating in this. I guess their editors really never say no to publishing anything.

    2. This, if she was just saying a line from some rap song so what?

    3. Well as long as she wasn’t using the other n-word.

      https://youtube.com/watch?v=5Ns-kXeQCMk&t=65

      My half Korean kids love this video.

    4. Playa, Agreed with all 3 things, especially #2 – in fact I think I hear it playing in the background.

      1. They “let them in” (i.e. made exceptions and ‘gave permission’)…or is your point that they’re not really “black fraternities” to begin with?

        And is it supposed to be a ‘good thing’ that there’s not? or are we to congratulate them on their tolerance of their token brethren? I’m not sure what the point is.

        While SAE’s were widely recognized as “assholes” at most places i was aware of… the chapter @ my school had a few black members (*which was notable at a southern school not much given to lots of interracial social life). Nowhere in this kerfuffle is it ever mentioned that the ‘fraternity’ isn’t so much guilty of ‘institutional racism’ as much as it seems to have been a characteristic of students @ U Oklahoma

        1. “They “let them in” (i.e. made exceptions and ‘gave permission’)…or is your point that they’re not really “black fraternities” to begin with?”

          They’re culturally and historically black, they’re not “black fraternities” in the sense that membership is limited to black people or that they have to make an exception to some sort of rule when someone who isn’t black wants to join.

          “And is it supposed to be a ‘good thing’ that there’s not? or are we to congratulate them on their tolerance of their token brethren? I’m not sure what the point is.”

          Did you even read the post I responded to? I’m pretty sure Flemur didn’t just randomly decide to post that in this thread. They’re clearly trying to draw an equivalence between black Greek orgs and an SAE chapter that sang songs about denying membership to blacks and lynching black people.

        2. I don’t go to OU so I don’t know how SAE’s racism compares to the student body or other fraternities. I do know that their chapter at USC (where I go) was known as the most racist on campus until they got kicked off (for other reasons) earlier this year. I’ve heard they have a similar rep in some other areas from people I’ve talked to from outside California. Apparently, the SAE Texas chapter also sings this song (according to someone on Reddit who posted the exact lyrics about a month before this video came out) and possibly many other Southern chapters as well (claimed by another poster – not as much proof, but if both UT and OU sing it, I doubt they’re the only ones).

          At the same time, I know a non-white guy who is in a pretty diverse SAE chapter at a state school in California, so I’m not saying that all chapters or brothers are like that, just that I was not the least bit surprised that it was SAE brothers (of all fraternities) in this video.

  15. Gilbow had actually participated in some racially-charged singing at SAE herself. Watch that here.

    She was singing along with a rap song. Only blacks can sing those lyrics.

    1. Trigger, please!

  16. John and MNG Botard
    Sittin’ in a tree
    K-I-S-S-I-N-G…

    1. That is really harsh. Not that I don’t deserve it. But it is still harsh.

      1. You know I do it out of love, John
        I appreciate you take it so well 🙂

      2. I miss the old MNG / John fights too.

        1. The Botard really suffers by comparison to MNG. MNG was (mostly) interesting, and those fights with John were like Kramer…hideous, but I could not look away.

          1. Totally agree. The best part of MNG was that I think he only picked a side so that he could start an argument.

            My suspicion was that if John had ever switched sides in one of his battles with MNG, MNG would have seamlessly switched sides too.

            I don’t know whatever happened to MNG. If he passed away, I would bet money that when he hit the Pearly Gates and St. Pete told him that he had passed and could go into heaven, that MNG would instantly have picked a fight with him about that.

    2. Bo is gonna Bo really hard in this thread. He has a lot to feel guilty about.

      1. But what about Mormons and Mexicans? Where do you draw the line?

        /Bo

  17. Isn’t this what sensitivity training is for?

    Just sentence them to a semester course in African American studies.
    Plus a public apology with an appropriate amount of grovelling and that should do it.

  18. Notice the trajectory. We’ve gone from ‘these comments are awful, but I’m concerned about taking official action against these knuckleheads’ to ‘why is anyone paying attention to this or putting scorn on these young men, nothing to see here?’

    One wonders why blacks and conservatives don’t appeal to minorities much…

    1. That is, right wingers and conservatives appeal to blacks and minorities much.

      1. tell us more about how popular you are

    2. Notice the trajectory. You’ve gone from accusing one or two people who may or may not have been sympathetic to “Republicans” to collectivizing an entire board. One wonders why you don’t appeal to some Reason commentators.

      1. Ohhhhh SNAP!

        That’d leave a mark on a normal person.

        1. Emphasis on normal.

      2. It’s pretty obvious that this is where it was headed. He doesn’t have the basic social skills to conceal it.

  19. There have been at least 3 or 4 times in my life when a white person saying “nigger” has made national news. Meanwhile, people call each other cocksuckers, motherfuckers, and shitheads all the live long day and it barely raises an eyebrow.

    People who try to stamp out profanity are routinely the butt of jokes. And yet progs, who often brag about being willing to rock the boat, are the most censor-happy of all the thought police.

    Smearing shit on a Jesus statue is edgy and provocative. Yelling “nigger!” is vile hate speech. Making fun of a tiny religion like Mormonism is brilliant comedy. Making fun of a giant religion like Islam is racist bigotry. Making fun of fat people is OK. Making fun of retards is not.

    I’m just a simple country derpetologist. I can’t keep up with all this doublethink.

    1. Nigger, PLEASE

    2. Dude, making fun of fat people is definitely not ok. Or maybe making fun of fat women isn’t ok but making fun of fat, rich white guys is cool.

      1. I just want to punch up! Good comedians are supposed to punch up, not down:

        http://www.nerdyfeminist.com/2…..ng-of.html

        Jokes about prison rape: OK!

        Jokes about date rape: NOT. COOL.

    3. What if the retard is fat?

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