Stereotyping Affinity Housing

by Chien Wen Kung | 5/14/02 5:00am

To the Editor:

In the article, "Affinity Housing goes under review" (The Dartmouth, May 13, 2002), Ben Thorpe '04 is quoted as saying, "Anything that isn't affinity housing here is white affinity housing." This is clearly wrong. I am a member of Alpha Theta, and as you can tell from my name, I am not white, and neither are several of my brothers and sisters. The same case could be made for many other fraternities and sororities on campus. For example, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority are traditionally black, while Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity has a substantial number of Asian members.

Furthermore, lest Mr. Thorpe argue that "anything that isn't affinity housing" (by which he means, of course, the Greek system) is, on the whole, "white," I'd like to point out that "whiteness" is a rather heterogeneous and fuzzy concept. "White" people here at Dartmouth are descended from many distinct cultures -- Italian, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, etc. Lumping all these cultures together is both indiscriminate and pejorative. If we assume that our definition of diversity goes beyond simply that of skin color (and very few people actually have white skin color), one could almost argue that white people are as diverse as non-white people.