As can be seen by the pictures above, the fraternity Kappa Sigma held the party on Friday, and following the party posted pictures online showing students (most of whom were not Asian) in traditional Asian attire. The email invitation included “stereotypical misspellings” in a fashion known as Engrish (Asian-muffled English words), that included “herro” and “chank you.” The email also contained a screen-grab from the film “Team America: World Police.”
Three seniors, who are part of the Duke’s Asian Students Association, took the photos and turned them into fliers. One, pictured above, had the headline: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” The protest itself is planned for 1 P.M. on Feb. 6, 2013. According to the Facebook page, roughly 700 people said they would be attending.
“This is not just about Asians, one party or one frat,” Ashley Tsai, one of the seniors, told Duke's the Chronicle. “This is a consistent thing happening. We want serious things to be done by the student body and the university so that this never happens again.”
Kappa Sigma did not respond immediately to emails or criticism. They became an officially-recognized fraternity last year, after going as an unofficial one for nearly a decade.
The party nearly didn’t happen. Originally called the “Kappa Sigma Asian Prime,” the email invite was cited in a complaint filed with the university. A second email was sent, by the university itself, announcing:
“The Brothers of Kappa Sigma regret to inform you that our forebrothers' secrets of the far east have not survived the move back onto campus. Without them, Asia Prime cannot go on and must be cancelled.
Instead, Kappa Sigma presents: International Relations. A celebration of all cultures and the diversity of Duke.”
This is not the first, and no doubt, not the last time, that such an event has such repercussions. Last year at Penn State, a party at a sorority was cited as being culturally insensitive. It was a Mexican-themed party, including attendees wearing traditional (and, accordingly, stereotypical) Mexican garb, and holding signs that read “Will Mow Lawn for Weed + Beer” and “I don’t cut grass—I smoke it.” That sorority later apologized for “portraying inappropriate and untrue stereotypes.”
For more information, check out the Yahoo! News article by Dylan Stableford.