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I am an international student in my fraternity and most of the time my brothers make comments that are very offensive. They sometimes refer to things I like as un-American. I try my best to ignore them without starting any confrontation or drama.
It’s unbearable and I am not really close to any of them and it’s making me regret joining as I often feel marginalized. How can I tell them to stop making these comments without them laughing and making snide comments?
Here is the thing about being in a fraternity – if you can’t talk to your brothers about issues then you don’t have much of a brotherhood. You should be able to talk to the guys, let them know what is bothering you, and then you both move on.
That being said, you may not understand what is going on because of the cultural divide. Guys like to bust each other’s balls. It is not meant to be offensive or be taken personally – it is just a way of getting a cheap laugh.
For example, you say they sometimes refer to things you like as un-American. They are probably talking about soccer. I hate to break it to you, but American’s hate soccer and here are 6 reasons why:
1) There is not enough scoring. When the Cubs score more than you do, you have a real problem.
2) This reaction of the players to failure. When they miss the goal they look shocked beyond belief, almost like it was the ball’s fault it didn’t go in. Maybe they should be shocked though, because the goal is big enough to fit all of Antonio Cromartie’s kids in it…
3) Faked injuries. I once saw a guy flop to the ground like he was Shane Battier, get taken off in a stretcher, only to sprint back on the field 2 minutes later wearing a soiled head bandage. One minute the guy was dying, and the next he is running back on the field like my boy Cuz at the first showing of the newest Tyler Perry movie. It makes me want to puke.
4) Offsides is dumb. If a guy wants to cherry pick, then that is his business. It is actually good for the other team because it is one less guy playing D. In my Y league we don’t have offsides, and my man Skinny cherry picks for at least two goals a game. He is too lazy to play D anyway, so at least we made him useful. If you put a cup-cake on the goal line he’d probably turn into Pele.
5) Injury time. Refer to #2 – most injuries are faked and thus is not a good reason to extend the game. Put a clock up like every other sport. When it hits 0:00 – the game is over. It is hard to believe soccer can mess up the most simple concept there is in sport.
6) Ties. Are you friggin’ serious? Ties? In real sports there is a winner and a loser. Hell, even in fake sports (NASCAR) there is a winner in a loser. There are no ties. And to top it all off, soccer has an exciting way to break ties – penalty kicks. Of course, that would probably make soccer more interesting so we should stay away from that…
Anyway, I digress, but I hope you can see my point. I really don’t hate soccer. I am like most Americans and am ambivalent to it. It ranks up there with arena league football and the WNBA. I may watch it for a few minutes while I’m flipping channels, but I will never admit to it.
Realize I am just looking for a cheap laugh with my rant and am always looking for ways to take a dig at the University of New Jersey at Durham (Duke). I am sure your brothers are doing the same thing, you just aren’t seeing the humor in it.
So talk to your brothers. Explain how you feel and exactly what is bothering you. Don’t beat around the bush, be direct and provide clear examples. Chances are they don’t even realize what is bothering you and they will change once they are made aware.
But if after talking to them you realize that they are complete jerks that you don’t want to be around, then quit. Life is too short to be miserable, and you are the only one in life responsible for your happiness. Remove yourself from situations that make you miserable. You will be a much happier person if you do.