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Hazing A Benefit or Burden

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Hazing A Benefit or Burden

Hazing: A Benefit or Burden

The concept of hazing has long since been a source of debate, yet it has also served as a means of training designed to save lives. Hazing has been around almost as long as mankind but its formal introduction became most apparent in the military. Hazing is used to bring a group of people together as a unit and teach them a great deal of information in a short amount of time. Hazing is designed as a consequence based teaching method where a mistake leads to harassment of some sort. This harassment may include physical or mental discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule, paddling or other forms of physical abuse, excessive fatigue, psychological shocks, chores, involuntary road trips, and any morally degrading games or activities (Interfraternity By-laws). Hazing also develops a high degree of respect from the leader as well as a greater appreciation of the group and its purpose.

'Hazing exists in any army'(Filipov, A28). Unity and respect are imperative when lives are on the line. Hazing turns a group of individuals into a finely tuned machine where all the parts work together as one. 'People who volunteer for the service are subjected to taunts and hazing presumably to make it difficult to become a quitter. It is stated that many individuals compensate for feelings of inferiority by performing successfully in this training' (Bernstein, 1303). The Romans, who dominated the world for centuries, required many of their soldiers to sleep with one another to develop a high level of trust for their colleagues. The troops that defend the United States of America have all been hazed in one fashion or another, which has made the USA the most powerful nation in the world. Discipline, respect, trust, and unity make up the solid foundation required for a strong military.

From the time of a child begins to walk and talk, parents teach them right and wrong by use of rewards or punishments. These punishments range may include scolding, isolation, spankings, or grounding. Simon Messing states 'even little boys haze other boys who cry or seem soft by saying he 'lacks something' or he is effeminate.' Classroom teachers send children to the corner, write their name on the board, or give them detention when they show fault in their actions. The same set of actions is set up for adults but the consequences are stronger in order for the adult to be affected. An adult will not take offense to having his name on a board or being sent to a corner, hence stern criticisms, physical deeds, and moral degradation are applied to persuade the individual into doing what is expected.

These methods of hazing are even more effective when applied to groups. Hazing can bond a number of individuals and make them strive harder to succeed. When a group is 'lined up' they are to act as one'not as individuals, which is imperative in military, sports, and even in fraternal brotherhoods. If a single individual fails, the entire group must face the consequence together. A single person may not be affected by the punishment, but the mental anguish they receive when watching their peers pay for their own failure is more powerful in changing their actions and learning. The movie Full Metal Jacket give an accurate portrayal of hazing in the military. Private Pyle, an overweight and undisciplined new comer, gets caught hiding a doughnut in his military supply box where only supplies are permitted. The drill instructor makes the rest of Pyle's platoon hold a down position for pushups while Pyle eats his doughnut. Not only does Pyle feel poorly for punishing his team for his actions, but his team resents him and strives to keep him in line. By the end of boot camp, Private Pyle is in peak physical condition and performs his tasks to perfection.

Fraternities almost have a direct link to military in the way of hazing. Fraternities were founded as secret organizations designed to protect students from corrupt universities. Fraternities gave their brothers the freedom to express their ideas and break down the corruptness of the school and church. Militaries were made to hold secret agendas for the purpose of keeping the freedom of the nation and protect it from others trying to harm it. During the civil war, many students were forced into war and fraternities ran thin. When the war was over, the brothers went back to school and brought life back to their fraternities. They brought with them their new knowledge of how to form unity among a group of individuals. Forms of hazing were transferred from the military boot camp directly into the fraternity for their pledges (new members).

Fraternities have been looked down upon by many people for their 'constant parties', lack of concern for school, treatment of women, and most of all their hazing. Hazing is now illegal in most states and forbidden by most fraternity headquarters. There are a few problems faced with banning fraternities. First of all, fraternities were founded as secret societies. As a secret society, the members of the fraternities strive to keep their actions known only to brothers making it difficult for others to take action. The main problem with hazing is that there is not a concrete definition of hazing. Without a solid definition to go on, there is great deal of gray area in enforcing the laws.

Fraternities have been around since 1400 and have produced some of the world's most successful leaders. Fraternity men have a higher cumulative grade point average than non-fraternity men do. Fraternities participate in fund raising, community service, social functions, scholarship, and many other productive events. The most treasured part of fraternity life is the brotherhood'a single bond that unites hundreds of thousands of men. Aside from the ritual (secret ceremonies of fraternities), the hazing each person endured can bring two strangers together as if they had known each other for their entire lives. An example of this bond happened when a man from Mississippi decided to move to California with his fianc'e. The man had an apartment set aside and a job waiting for him, but things took a turn for the worse. The company he was working for laid off many employees with him included because of his short time with them. Without work, he began to struggle to make ends meet for him and his fianc'e. The man ran into a brother of the same fraternity as he had been in back in Mississippi. The two strangers sat and talked for a while about their mutual chapters and then of their personal lives. When the brother heard about the man's troubles, he took his name and number down then went back to the chapter and asked them what they thought of the situation. The next day, the man received a call offering him a room at the chapter house without pay so that he could get back on his feet. This is what a brotherhood is all about'a stranger taken in and supported because of his pride and acceptance into the fraternity. To be accepted into the fraternity, one must put aside personal interests to help out their brothers. Hazing is the chief tactic applied to create this bond and make it stronger.

By banning hazing, this bond is made weaker each semester because the fraternities are not able to do anything that makes their pledges unite. Fraternities are merely able to speak about the importance of unity but can not demand a display of it or even have the pledges show their desire to join. It is wrong to destroy a bond that runs this tightly between brothers. Hazing done for constructive purposes does not hurt anybody and produces uncountable benefits. Pledges who rush a fraternity go in on their own free will and are free to drop out ant any time if they do not feel like they can handle it. There are many cases of hazing that are done for entertainment purposes only and jeopardize the safety of the new members. It is this kind of behavior that has brought laws against hazing and weakened the fraternity system as a whole. Forbidding hazing, ...

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Keywords: hazing negative effects, hazing you meaning

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