A fraternity at the University of Chicago is under fire after pulling a stunt on an African-American mail carrier that has been decried as both racist and homophobic. U.S. Postal carrier Iran Becton told the Sun-Times members of the university’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity had him “needlessly” drag more than six dozen postal supply boxes to the chapter’s house in the 5600 block of South University Avenue.
“About a week after Memorial Day, I had an order to bring 79 of the boxes,” Becton said. “I came to the address and explained to the frat member that I would have a lot more supplies. I went back to the truck for the boxes about six or seven times. After the last trip, one of the frat guys came out and said it was a practical joke. Another guy said that I should read the name backwards and I’ll get the joke.”
According to CBS Chicago, the name on the order was “Reggin Toggaf;” read backwards, the first name is a racial slur and the last name is a slur for gay men.
Becton said he felt insulted “humiliated” and wants an apology; the Chicago Division Postal Inspection Services is reportedly investigating and mail delivery to the Phi Delt house has been suspended until they issue a written apology to Becton. The Sun-Times notes in addition to the impact on Becton, the prank involved “the abuse and possibly the destruction of postal property,” which is a criminal offense.
Ironically, the incident came just days after the university hosted a diversity initiative for which the school’s paper, The Chicago Maroon, reported “anti-racism activist and writer Tim Wise spoke about the ignorance of dominant social groups as a persistent problem in America and the University of Chicago community.”
The Phi Delt prank wasn’t the first time a U of C fraternity has been accused of being insensitive and offensive. In 2012, the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity drew criticism for its depiction of Latinos and a planned “Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes” theme party, according to United Press International.
Fraternities and sororities around the country seem to earn another racially or culturally insensitive embarrassment each semester; in February, Duke University’s Kappa Sigma fraternity drew fire for an “Asia Prime” party .
Later the same month, Washington University in St. Louis’ Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter was suspended for an incident involving pledges who allegedly sang racial slurs to black students.