Hazing Essay, Research Paper
In our society today, violence can hardly be ignored. Murder, rape, theft, and many other potentially violent crimes are committed like clockwork. Sad, enough, violence is in our human nature. As a young man, I can remember how cruel little kids, including myself, were. Senseless insults and physical abuse are almost normal growing up, no matter what your sex or economic and social background may be. It seems today that children know the concepts of hazing before they know what the word means. More specifically, hazing can be defined as harassment by abusive and humiliating tricks (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 327). Pinning down a fellow class-mate and giving him a pink-belly , throwing an unsuspecting teammate in the showers and whipping him with towels are events that take place in crowds of young and the older daily. Hazing can be harmless or potentially deadly. In some cases, hazing seems to be traditional. Fraternities, athletic teams, all have found hazing a normal practice since they were established. A question that may be on one s mind is, Where did hazing go wrong? I will explain and give examples of hazing, where it has and does go wrong, and a call to action for violent hazing. Hazing seems apparently wrong, since its acts of humiliation and wrongful physical and mental harassment dehumanizes a person.
Hazing has no limitations of gender, or color. It starts at young ages and continues through adolescence to even the middle aged. Signs of technical hazing become apparent usually around the beginning of the teenage years. Hazing, the ritual
of humiliation or harm once popular primarily in college fraternities is becoming prevalent among younger teenagers (Fine, 3). As one will soon realize, hazing is not just limited to college kids or athletes. One Hank Nuwer, author of several books on hazing states, The number of hazing incidents in high schools is way up (Fine, 3). Many may feel that hazing in high schools isn t that severe and really isn t a problem. Fine exclaims, Hazing by high schoolers, which takes place both on and off campus is every bit as serious as that which occurs among college students-if not more so (3). Most often in these hazing incidents, there is excessive use of sexual assault, alcohol overdoses, isolation, and degradation. Some of the most common tactics are: binding people with duct tape, beating them up, smearing their bodies with nasty concoctions made of such ingredients as eggs and manure. Many feel that high school students in some ways are prime targets for hazing because they want to belong so badly. Many of these incidences occur on sports teams. Most recent cases at Trumball High School in Connecticut prove how severe the hazing of young teenagers can be. Such cases include, A 15 year-old is duct-taped and thrown against a school locker, then held down while his teammates insert a plastic knife into his rectum (Trebay, 32).
Though hazing is severe in certain high schools of our nation, it tends not to be as ritualized as it is on the college level. A certain case at the University of Vermont caught the attention of the New York Times Magazine, When Jean-Francois Caudron arrived at the University of Vermont training camp on a hockey scholarship four years ago, he was a keen rookie who played hard to prove himself to his coaches Before he would be truly accepted, there was one final, brutal test he would have to pass: a rookie hazing, which
involved shaving his pubic hair, painting his toenails, and guzzling warm beer until he vomited (rpt. in Mackey, 6). Some modern initiation rituals in sports, military, and fraternity settings can be traced back to primitive societies where young boys underwent often painful rites of passage into manhood (Mackey, 6).
Not all hazing pertains to just males. In some female organizations such as sororities, hazing can consist of the following: paddling, excessive use of alcohol, embarrassment, engaging in public stunts, morally degrading or humiliating games and activities, and any other activities that would fall under the definition of hazing.
Though the idea of hazing has been abused long before it became a public issue, it has most recently gone wrong in the past twenty years. The increase began in the 1980 s, and anecdotal evidence since then indicates the problem is escalating. Hazing often originates with sports teams, when members gang up on a teammate in a rite of initiation or to establish a pecking order, say those who track such incidents. Sometimes it involves attacks by upperclassmen on younger kids (Fine, 3).
Hazing, to most, can be looked upon as physically and psychologically unhealthy. The abuse of hazing is where it goes wrong. Making a pledge of a fraternity carry a brothers book bag, and making the new college rookie eat feces can t even be compared, but these are both defined as hazing. In a more recent case at the University of Georgia, The Chronicle of Higher Education writes, A University of Georgia fraternity member who died in a traffic accident late last month was hand cuffed and apparently being hazed at the time of the crash, according to investigators. Benjamin Folsom Grantham III was riding in the rear cargo area of a sport-utility vehicle driven by another member of Alpha
Tau Omega when the vehicle flipped and hit a tree about 12 miles south of Athens, GA., according to the Oconee County sheriffs office. Michael F. Adams stated, If we learn anything is such a dark moment, it is that pranks and fun and foolishness are not always harmless . (A67).
Though hazing seems to be traditional in some cases, it is illegal. This act may initiate you into a elite social group or be your rite of passage , but it s harmful physically and psychologically, and is potentially deadly. Maybe it s not all the hazers fault; it may well be more the hayzees fault. One would feel that a lack of self-respect contributes to the allowance of these degrading acts. If individuals being pushed into these situations had more respect for themselves, they would be more self conscious about the potential danger of being hazed.
What should be done to end these dangerous hazing incidences? How can we as a society end violent hazing, or at least curb it? The question isn t how much hazing is acceptable, the question is how much abuse is acceptable to society, says Mark Peters, and attorney who has litigated federal class action suits on child welfare (Trebay, 32). But laws obviously aren t the answer, since most states already have anti-hazing laws. Most states-41-have anti-hazing. But the practices persist, largely because coaches and other officials tolerate them, and because too many athletes accept them as simply the price to pay to belong , (Christian Science Monitor, 8). What is needed are school officials who simply won t tolerate hazing as a rite of passage into sports teams, fraternities and sororities. What is also needed in our society is to increase the respect among our fellow humans. The problem of hazing is inevitable if the people being hazed
have no respect for themselves. There is no dignity or pride in being abused to belong to another social class.
Hazing is a way to initiate a person to another social class. It s a way to make one belong to something they weren t a part of before. In other cases, it s just plain and simple cruelty. As one can see, hazing is everywhere, male or female, young and old. It damages a persons mind and body, sometimes permanently, and sometimes resulting in death. Though laws have been made to control hazing, it still continues on a large scale.