Did Penn State Kids Create “It Gets Better” Video To Deflect Racist Accusations?

Penn State got another black eye this week when an offensive photo of sorority girls dressed like stereotypical Mexicans surfaced on the Internet.

Smiling like they just got asked to homecoming, the girls of Chi Omega are seen wearing fake mustaches and serapes, and carrying signs with slogans like “I don’t cut grass, I smoke it.”

Classy stuff, no?

The photo was taken during Halloween but went viral on Monday, when it was posted on the campus news site, Onward State. With the Sandusky trial still fresh on people’s minds, the last thing the school needed was another scandal.

Then suddenly, on Tuesday, an It Gets Better video from various members of Penn State’s Panhellenic community surfaced on YouTube. It was posted by openly gay Delta Lambda Phi member Nick Doyle, who is on PSU’s Greek council.

Doyle writers:

This is the Penn State Greek Life It Gets Better video. I want this video to reach out to all struggling individuals and let them know that no matter what they are going through, that it gets better.

The It Gets Better project was started by Dan Savage in response to LGBTQ youth committing suicide. This video is geared towards LGBT and all individuals that are dealing with a difficult time, we as a community wanted to show that no matter who you are, we support you and that you have a wonderful life ahead of you…

We as a community want to let all of you know, all of you that are struggling, all of you that need a friend, we are here for you. You are an amazing person and have a wonderful life ahead of you. Please always know that it gets better.

It’s a nice sentiment but the timing is suspicious: Could these kids have cobbled together an IGB video in less than a day, as a kind of PR fixit job for the embattled school and its Greek system?

If it was, that’s pretty jaded shit for fresh-faced college kids. Maybe some of them are poli-sci majors.

It does seem like an intentional effort at whitewashing the Chi Omega incident: A piece in Onward State, which applauded the clip, states, “In the wake of scandal regarding one chapter, it’s appropriate to remember that one chapter’s actions do not dictate the entire Greek community.”

Is the reputation of the Greek community really what’s important here?

As the Queerty reader who sent us the homemade PSA—which he calls “possibly the most generically awkward ‘It Gets Better’ video ever”—points out, words like “gay,” lesbian,” “LGBT,” and “suicide” are never uttered. For all the smirks and rah-rah attitude, you’d think they were talking about the winter formal.

Our reader also claims the video description was altered after questions were raised about the clip. (We’ve attempted to get more information but the comment section has been disabled.)

We’re not going to nail Doyle or the other participants in the video to the cross: They’re just kids, and we’re sure some of them are gay or have gay people they love. (And Penn State did receive five out of five stars from Campus Pride.)

But the point of an It Gets Better video is to help kids in need, not cover your ass or salvage your reputation.

Below, a student at the University of South Alabama contributes a somewhat more heartfelt and personal It Gets Better clip.

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  • Kieran

    Maybe next time these naughty girls will learn that if they want to make bigoted ethnic jokes they should wait until St Patrick’s Day to do so. The Irish are one group that are not protected under the rules of “Political Correctness”.

  • meg13

    I’m surprised you didn’t realize this simple fact, since you know so much about Penn State! People in the video are wearing SHORTS. SHORTS weather does not exist in the fall/winter in State College. So pathetic trying to put down people totally unrelated to the incident.

  • meg13

    @meg13: hence, this video could not have been shot just this week. sheesh.

  • alterego1980

    I thought the picture was funny. Perhaps that’s racist of me but who cares. We’re all a little racist sometimes…
    While the It Gets Better Video seems like bad timing, and is definitely a piss-poor video, I don’t think the two are related. If anything, I feel bad that the good things they are trying to do with It Gets Better are overshadowed by the photo of the mustachio’d Sorority girls.

  • DarthKitsune

    Yeah, I mean it’s not like a conspiracy or anything! They can’t just put on shorts because the video director told them to dress the same and in a casual manner! NO ONE wears shorts in such brisk weather! Sheesh!

  • yago437

    Yes, it’s true white girls don’t cut, but they sure know how to smoke it.
    Crack addicts!!. The funny thing is that Irish and Mexicans are both
    “devoted” catholics. L.O.L..

  • Guillermo3

    Who Knows?!?:It was a lame It Gets Better vid,anyway.I put it in
    my youtube “out”playlist with the note}Fake Shit.I do know
    “Happy Valley”,and vanilla is the norm there.

  • BrokebackBob

    The only overriding problem is that it is NOT going to begin to get any better
    at Penn State for a long long time, perhaps as many as 3 or 4 graduating
    classes. The entire school is heavily tainted, and the management of the
    school, it’s staff and faculty, all of it’s athletics programs as well
    as donors to its Foundation and alumni should be profoundly ashamed. What happened
    at Penn State cannot be whisked away with a buzz-phrase like “It Gets Better”.
    As far as many are concerned, Penn State is temporarily no longer a member
    of The Big Ten.

Comments are closed.