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Duke ‘racist rager’: fraternity suspended over Asian-themed party

The Duke University chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity has been suspended over a party that promoted Asian stereotypes.
Duke racist rager 2013Enlarge
Duke fans cheer as they wait for the start of a game between the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels on Feb. 7, 2007 at the Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Duke University chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity has been suspended by its national office following a protest over a party that promoted Asian stereotypes, ABC News reported.

The fraternity’s first email invitation to the “Kappa Sigma Asia Prime” party on Feb. 1 read, in part, “Herro Nice Duke Peopre… We look forward to having Mi, Yu, You and Yo Friends… over for some sake,” according to the Duke Chronicle.

After Duke’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life received complaints about the invitation, Kappa Sigma sent out a second invitation with a new party name — “International Relations: A Celebration of All Cultures and the Diversity of Duke,” according to ABC News.

But partygoers still dressed as Asian stereotypes, wearing conical hats, geisha costumes and even an inflatable sumo suit.

News of the party reached all the way to South Korea, where Twitter users condemned the Duke students.

GlobalPost Senior Correspondent in Seoul Geoffrey Cain said some South Korean netizens have reacted angrily to what they call American arrogance.

"Anti-American sentiment occasionally flares up in Korea, but it's almost always thanks to resentment over the actions of a minority of American servicemen," Cain said. "The last big anti-American protest was in 2008, when thousands of marchers demanded that President Lee Myung-bak pull back on a deal to import American beef that they worried — with not much evidence — was unsafe."

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On Tuesday, several students covered bulletin boards on campus with fliers calling the event a “#RacistRager” and featuring Facebook photos of students wearing offensive costumes, the Duke Chronicle reported.

Some 500 students then turned out for a protest against the party on Wednesday, ABC News reported. “This protest is about the destructive prejudice that must be uprooted from every corner of Duke to make this place an inclusive and safe place for all,” Asian Student Alliance President Ting-Ting Zhou said at the protest, according to ABC News.

“This is not just about Asians, one party or one frat,” student Ashley Tsai told the Duke 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.”

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