Folk Beliefs
Legends

Sorority Hazing (Compton)

Piece:

In one sorority at USC a legend is told of an act of hazing in the mid 1960’s: the new initiates were dressed in all white—sororities were predominantly white at that time—so as to resemble members of the KKK, and then they were dropped of in Compton—a predominantly black neighborhood, and instructed to find their way home. Given the time period, the girl would not have had cellphones or other means of emergency communication.

Informant & Context:

My informant for this piece heard this legend from another member of her sorority—whose mother was supposedly in said sorority during that period of time. She asked that the names be removed in order to reduce liability.

Thoughts:

Hazing is a prevalent thorn in the rosebush that is college Greek life. The theory is that once new members are chosen based on certain demonstrated criteria, they will be broken down so that they can be rebuilt together in the image of the house—to best represent their letters. A common theory is that the individuals need to be retrained to serve so that service in all forms will become for them an instinct or habit rather than an active decision.

This story is relevant to members of that sorority now because it serves as a comparison to make any smaller scale hazing appear significantly more reasonable and lighthearted. It also serves the purpose of a ghost story—which they may tell to new members to scare them during their introductory period.

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