On Friday Jezebel broke a story about a distasteful theme party hosted by Indiana University's Kappa Delta sorority. The party theme? Homelessness, a subject that makes people mad when entitled college girls mock it by smudging dirt on their face and wearing signs that read "Give me a nickel and I'll tickle your pickle" and "Why lie? It's for BOOZE. Homeless need $ and prayers."
A tipster to Jezebel explained why the party is particularly distasteful given Bloomington's homeless population. Via Jezebel:
Just so you know, Bloomington, IN (home of IU) has a disproportionately high homeless population. They're typically the target of a lot of shit from students. They get treated pretty badly. It's actually really sad—one of the places homeless people tend to hang out is right across from the most popular student bar in Bloomington, and on pretty much any given night, you can hear students loudly ridiculing the homeless population while they sip their drinks. Students will be out canning for money for their big national philanthropies, but when a homeless person asks for a quarter, they'll tell him or her to get a job. The greek system here does do a lot of philanthropic work, but homelessness, which is one of the biggest local problems we have, and a problem that the greek system has the opportunity to really help, is completely ignored.
The Kappa Delta, meanwhile, is in full face-save mode, firing off this statement:
"Kappa Delta does not condone these actions or any language that demeans an individual or group," read part of a statement from Heidi Roy, director of communications for Kappa Delta in Memphis, Tenn. "We continue to investigate and will respond accordingly."
The sorority vowed a "swift and comprehensive response" and that it would work "to develop education programming and provide community service opportunities for the chapter."
Obviously this was an "in the moment" decision that everyone thought was funny at the time that's now -- fittingly -- come back to haunt them, as these things so often do. Of course the intent wasn't malicious. But in a way, that's the worst thing about it: When a social organization can so easily mock a problem as emotional and complex as homelessness by throwing a "theme party" making fun of it instead of helping the homeless out, well, that says a lot about the values of that social organization.
Screencap via RTV6.