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Fraternity Watched As African American Mail Carrier Hauled 79 Boxes Labelled "F*ggot N*gger" Backward

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Phi Delta Theta at the University of Chicago

 
 
 
 

A U.S. Post carrier got caught in the middle of a racist, homophobic prank, and a fraternity of jackasses at the University of Chicago let it play out, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

About a week after Memorial Day, Iran Becton received an order to deliver 79 boxes to the Phi Delta Theta house on the university’s campus. He “needlessly” carried every single package from his post office truck to the door of the frat house, before a member informed him that his hard labor was all part of an infantile joke. 

“I went back to the truck for the boxes about six or seven times,” Becton told the Sun-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.”

Inscribed on all 79 boxes: the name “Reggin Toggaf.” Put that up to a mirror to reveal the sophisticated humor of these fine, fraternal gentleman. Spelled backwards, the intended recipient of each box is the name “F*ggot N*gger.”

Chicago Division Postal Inspection Services, as well as Victory Packaging—the company that shipped the boxes—are both investigating the incident. The university issued a statement calling it “deplorable.” The Chicago Postal Inspection Service spoke with university police, as well as the fraternity vice president, and halted mail delivery to the house until members write a formal apology. However, a spokesperson noted to the Sun-Times that Phi Delta Theta was the “intended target” of the prank, not Becton.

For the mail carrier, an apology isn’t enough. Becton, who is African American, told the ­ Sun-Times he felt “humiliated,” and wants the post officer inspector to “go after the person who ordered all this stuff.”   

“This is ridiculous that all you can tell me is that you are sorry it happened,” Becton said. “These are U.S. Postal inspectors. You can’t tell me they can’t do anything.”

The Sun-Times notes that the “joke involved the abuse and possibly the destruction of postal property,” a federal offense.

This isn’t the only example of entrenched prejudice at the prestigious University of Chicago. The Black Youth Project revealed a Facebook page called Politically Incorrect Maroon Confessions, where more than 950 “confessions” from U of C students range from insensitive to flat out hate speech. One entry laments the “onslaught of black people invading UChicago.” Another simply states, “Let’s start a male movement fuck feminists.” And The Huffington Post notes a 2012 incident in which the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity threw a “Conquistadors and Aztec Hoes” party, fraught with racist depictions of Latinos.

As for the U of C members of Phi Delta Theta, no one has yet faced any disciplinary action. Mack Julion, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 11, told the Sun-Times that he visited the house and spoke with the fraternity’s former president.

“I gave him my card and told him he may put something in writing,” Julion said. “I told him I would talk to the letter carrier and see how he feels. That was on Saturday and I haven’t heard back.”

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06/17/2013: An earlier version of this story suggested that Phi Delta Theta orchestrated the prank themselves, when fraternity members merely failed to intervene as an African American mail carrier hauled 75 boxes labelled "N*gger F*ggot" backwards to their house. The U.S. Post Office has yet to determine who mailed the boxes. The story has been amended, and we regret the error.

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.