Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Fall 2016 (August 16, 2016)

Noted: Politics of Race

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August 5, 2016

[F16] Blackballed: The Black + White Politics of Race on America's Campuses Book Cover

In the engagingly written book Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses, writer Lawrence Ross examines racism toward black students on college campuses, both historically and now. In a chapter focusing on racism in fraternities and sororities in the early 1960s, Ross writes about the difficult experiences of two African American students: Patricia Hamilton Gyi’63 with Delta Gamma at Beloit and Keni Washington with Sigma Chi at Stanford University. Ross, a bestselling author who also wrote The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities, delves into how Hamilton Gyi’s pledge to Delta Gamma ignited a firestorm within the national sorority. Beloit College and fellow chapter members supported Hamilton Gyi and stood up against the national organization, which responded by suspending Beloit’s chapter on a technicality. Beloiters, while allowed to remain individual members, instead disaffiliated with Delta Gamma and reverted back to Theta Pi Gamma, which remains active today. Hamilton Gyi also eventually de-pledged, wishing to avoid the unwanted attention. She went on to a career implementing affirmative action policies at Ohio University’s medical school. Ross writes that neither Hamilton Gyi nor Washington have ever received apologies from the respective national fraternal organizations.

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