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Media. Journalism. Speculation. Misunderstanding. The Kappa Alpha Order at Tulane is dealing with a massive wave of all these things this week after social media was abuzz about their “Trump wall.” It all comes down to a classic and silly misunderstanding that was catalyzed by the pussification of America. A source close to the chapter has given me the scoop on what actually happened over the last week. So sit tight as we take a look at how tradition and satire was spun to become xenophobia and racism.
Thursday April 7th, Opening Ceremonies
Formal for KA is much more than a weekend getaway. It is a 10-day-long marathon of fraternal fun that provides good times for more than just the one chapter. One of the kick-off events to their formal is an annual campus-wide game of Capture the Flag against other fraternities and even the football team. In order to defend their territory during the game each year, KA builds a wall of sandbags surrounding their house. The competing teams will send in groups to try and dismantle the wall. It’s part of the fun and the pledges are designated to protect and rebuild the wall. In addition, the KA president gives an opening speech to officially kick off formal. He does so in nothing but his underwear, boots, and a hat.
The president’s speech is a humorous one, and with it being an election year, it’s natural that satire regarding the candidates would be an easy way to get some laughs. And that’s just what happened. After the wall had been erected, brothers saw the humor of Trump touting his desire for a wall in relation to the one sitting on their fraternity’s lawn. So they graffitied Trump’s campaign rhetoric onto the wall. When the president later gave his speech, he went on to further poke fun at the GOP frontrunner, by claiming that the wall his house just built would be paid for by the Kappa Kappa Gamma house directly across the street. Let’s not forget he’s giving this compelling speech in nothing but his tighty whities.
Within hours of gameplay, the wall had been dismantled so much during capture the flag that the original message was no longer legible. No one took care to ensure the sandbags got put back in the right spot and the message remained intact because it wasn’t a real message — it was a joke.
All in all, it was a funny day, with funny outfits, and funny jokes.
Tuesday April 12, All Hell Breaks Loose
Photos that were taken during the short lifetime of the “Trump Wall” in its full glory started gaining traction over social media around noon and continued to spiral out of control throughout the day. The most prevalent post on Facebook was from Dillon Pérez.
As things usually do with social media, the sharing got a bit out of hand and the message Dillon wanted to convey got muddled in with all of the perceived Trump hatred. He issued a statement around 11 p.m.
So, Dillon isn’t a bad guy. He might be a little sensitive, but he’s not so caught up in his wounded safe space that he’s calling for the persecution of KA. His goal was to simply open a dialog and exercise his right to not laugh at a funny joke, and find other people who also didn’t think the joke was funny. But come on. In context, that shit is hilarious.
In all seriousness, Dillon set off a chain of events that have labeled this chapter as one filled with Trump-lovers, and thereby inspired people to hate them, when, in fact, the majority of the house would probably support Kasich, according to the source close to the house. Other photos surfaced of Tulane KA circa 1985 when they still celebrated their Old South formal, and dressed in Civil War era garb, including Confederate uniforms. Social media users tried to use this as a means to paint KA as historically racist, and that somehow relates to the Trump Wall and the chapter being modern racists, too. Try again, kids. The 2014-2015 Tulane enrollment for Black and Hispanic students was at just under 16% of the student body. Today? KA’s brotherhood is comprised of about 10 brothers of color out of the total 60. So, about 16%. Doesn’t seem like they have a race problem by Tulane standards.
After the social media monster had started its dirty work, a video surfaced of Tulane football players dismantling the wall in front of KA. Many people, myself included, inferred that this was directly related to the Trump Wall and that they were doing so in protest. Rewatching the video, I feel silly for missing the fact that there is virtually no paint on any of the remaining parts of the wall. The video was captured Tuesday afternoon, during a regular part of playing Capture the Flag (yes, the game was still going on). The Trump Wall in its original form hadn’t been in existence for at least five days. The brothers we see in the video are insisting that the players leave to avoid any more of a scene with brothers and players wrestling and horsing around. Even though it’s all fun and games to them, such a display might result in more pictures or videos, and they wanted to avoid further speculation and scrutiny by the media, who could take the whole thing out of context. Whoops.
The chapter’s official statement with regard to the incident is as follows:
“Our chapter takes KA’s values of gentlemanly conduct very seriously. This respect extends to every student of Tulane and every member of the broader community. The comment was written on a makeshift wall on our private property, normally used for a game of capture the flag, to mock the ideologies of a political candidate. This had a unintended negative effect and as such it has been dismantled.”
And to think, they almost wrote “Feel the Bern” instead of “Make America Great Again,” which would have left no one pissed off, ironically..