Soon after I entered college in 1986, a few fraternities asked me to consider joining them. I wasn’t the frat type so I politely declined, but one fraternity didn’t want to take no for an answer.
I don’t recall their name now, but they aligned themselves with the Old South – right down to a confederate flag outside their house. I was from Tennessee and they wanted a “real” southerner to join them (never mind the fact that I was born in England, which made them all Yankees to me).
They considered themselves southern gentlemen, which apparently required being Caucasian. Despite the diversity of those attending the school, the fraternity was completely white.
One day I was asked to attend some event they were having to recruit new members. Rather than turn them down again, I said sure and asked if I could bring my friend Joe. They thought it was a swell idea.
I’m not sure they thought it was so swell once we showed up, though, because Joe was black.
I figured bringing him would get them off my back and let me thumb my nose at them at the same time. Joe cracked up when I proposed my scheme to him and quickly agreed to do it.
We spent the evening eating their food and consuming their drinks, having ourselves a good old time. Joe, of course, stood out like a sore thumb in that sea of white folk, and tried his best not to burst out laughing.
After that night, I was never invited to another event at that fraternity.