Perhaps nobody was more shocked by the University of Oklahoma’s racist frat video than the black man who refers to the white fraternity members as his “family.”
Howard Dixon, 53, has worked as a chef at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house in Norman, Okla., for the past 15 years and said he looked forward to coming to work every day and being around the guys.
Now, with the fraternity disbanded, two of its members expelled from the school and their brothers forced to find new housing, Dixon finds himself out of a job.
His house, he said, “is gone.”
“I think that was kind of stupid and selfish for them to do something like that,” Dixon told CBS. “And knowing this is an organization, and knowing this is an organization that’s supposed to be about brotherhood — that wasn’t no brotherhood.”
The chef’s plight has upset at least one former resident of the SAE house, who wrote on a crowdfunding page that Dixon “is going to lose his job because of a bus full of racist kids.” The fundraising effort started by Blake Burkhart has raised more than $36,000 since it was launched on Sunday — the same day the video went viral.
“Those of you who lived in the house, undoubtedly came to love Howard and his infectious smile (if not his chili dogs),” the page says. “He was always there to chat with you and more importantly, to take care of Mom B.”
It continues: “You know and I know that this isn’t the house we lived in. I’m positive Howard knows this, too.”
The video showed members of the fraternity chanting: “You can hang ‘em from a tree, but it will never start with me/There will never be a n—– SAE.”
By order of the fraternity’s national organization and university president David Boren, SAE’s Norman chapter has been shut down.
“The crowdfunding site is an attempt to make the best of a bad situation and give Howard some financial stability while he is forced to look for a job due to circumstances outside of his control,” Burkhart told the Oklahoma Daily, a student newspaper, in a Facebook message.
A second crowdfunding page, started by another SAE member who slammed the frat’s behavior, has raised more than $12,000 for the chef.
“Howard has been a hard-working and loyal employee for over 15 years, always making it in through rain, sleet and snow,” the page says. “He was one of my best friends during my time in the house, and my first thoughts are for him and his family. He has always been there for us and my heart is broken for him tonight.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Peter Holley