Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why hazing?

I do not understand the need nor use of hazing.   Never did.  As a child I read about hazing in books (Tarkington?).  Usually it was mild fraternity hi-jinks.  Still I thought it stupid and an assault on one's self-respect.
There are two instances where hazing or its equivalent is purposeful. 
The first is Basic Training for military service.  The purpose is to break down the individuality and personhood of each enlistee, resulting in people ready to accept orders without question.
The second is the initiation rite of different tribal cultures, such as the native American Indian.  These are rites overseen by a shaman and with a purpose benefitting the tribe and the individual together.
Every other version of hazing is just stupid human behavior which occasionally results in physical injury or worse, i.e., manslaughter.


  1. When I was in college and was the editor of the college newspaper, I learned of some hazing that went on in one of the residence halls -- I was a day hop who couldn't afford to live on campus -- that was pretty appalling. So I mounted a campaign against the practice. It was not the most popular move. In fact, a threat was passed along to me at one point (to which I responded by saying that everyone knew where they could find me at 4 every afternoon -- the local tavern; no one ever showed).
    Anyway, in my final editorial on the subject, I opined that the practice would not be discontinued until something bad happened that became public knowledge. Then the college officials would say they had never thought that sort of thing would happen, etc. That fall, lo and behold, some hazers left a paraplegic kid on a traffic island in Center City. That was the end of hazing. Organized sadism remains sadism.

  2. Interesting, Frank, and a 'Well Done" to you.