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Group protests sorority over 'culturally-insensitive' costumes

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Rebecca Noble and Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca | The Daily Wildcat Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat Ramon Sanchez writes "OUR CULTURE IS NOT A COSTUME" on the sidewalk outside of the Tri Delta Delta house in response to the "culturally insensitive" Halloween costumes allegedly worn by members of the sorority outside the house earlier in the day on Monday, Oct. 27. The protestors hope that education on cultural sensitivity and awareness will become more widespread throughout Greek Life and the UA Campus as a whole due to their actions.

A group of people gathered outside the Delta Delta Delta house Monday evening to protest the sorority for what it said were culturally insensitive costumes.

Angie Loreto, a Mexican American studies graduate student, said she was driving to a board meeting for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán when she allegedly saw about six individuals outside the Delta Delta Delta sorority house around 5:30 p.m. donning sombreros and mustaches and “dancing very inappropriately.”

Loreto and other members from MEChA returned to the sorority house to see what was going on and one of the sorority members talked to them.

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Loreto said one of the sorority members told her they were dressed that way to be culturally sensitive because one of their members is Hispanic. She also said the girl told her she was planning to dress as a mariachi dancer. Loreto said she did not see anyone dressed as a mariachi dancer.

Jordan Allison, vice president of public relations in Delta Delta Delta, said in an email statement that the member Loreto is referring to said another member of the sorority would be dressing as a mariachi dancer because she is a part of a local mariachi group.

“As someone that knows about the culture of mariachis, you don’t really use that to make any kind of silly statements like this,” Loreto said.

Loreto filmed the encounter between the group and the sorority member with her phone. In the video, the girl, who did not give her name, said, “We have some sisters who are of your culture.”

Jose Guadalupe-Conchas, a political science senior and MEChA member, said the group gathered outside the house to protest because cultural insensitivity is a huge issue across university campuses. Conchas mentioned an Arizona State University incident and how fraternities and sororities there have been in trouble recently for issues like this.

Fraternity & Sorority Programs sent an email to all Greek organizations on Monday addressing racially insensitive costumes with Halloween coming up.

The email stated, “Too often under the guise of humor or being ‘sexy,’ people wear costumes which perpetuate harmful racial stereotypes.”

Attached to the email was an article to help Greek members determine if their costume is racially insensitive.

Conchas referred to this email and said the Delta Delta Delta members’ timing with their incident today was impeccable.

Loreto said the group was outside the sorority protesting to let the members know that what they did was not acceptable. She said she is surprised incidents like this are still happening.

A group of fraternity members, who did not identify what fraternity they were with, arrived at the Delta Delta Delta sorority house shortly after the protest began. At that time, the group of protesters began chanting, “Our culture’s not a costume!”

Some of the fraternity members mockingly joined in on the chanting until another member yelled at them to shut up. The group also chanted, “Mustaches! Sombreros! That’s not okay!”

After the fraternity members entered the house, two Delta Delta Delta members who said they were leaders of the sorority but refused to reveal their names when asked by the Daily Wildcat stepped outside to apologize to the group of protesters.

“We have no tolerance for that,” one member said. “We don’t support it. We don’t condone it. … We want you to know we’re very sorry this happened.”The leaders said they talked with the entire chapter that evening about the incident and said it was not okay. They also said once they were notified of the incident, they had the members involved remove their costumes.

“We appreciate your apology, but it’s too late,” Loreto said.

After the two girls returned inside, Mónica Contreras, a Mexican American studies junior, said Monday’s incident is indicative that there needs to be more diversity justice on the UA campus.

Alexia Mora, secretary of MEChA and a junior studying Latin American studies and Spanish, said MEChA would be willing to meet with not only Delta Delta Delta but other Greek chapters to talk about cultural awareness and sensitivity.

The group ended its protest by hand-delivering a letter with two posters that read “My culture is not a costume” and “Brown is beautiful” to the sorority.

“It’s Halloween season and we don’t want to see anyone else to do this or to marginalize people or make mockery of anyone’s culture [if] it’s Mexican American or any other culture,” Conchas said.

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Follow Meghan Fernandez on Twitter.


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