Hazing a Benefit or Burden

Topics: Fraternities and sororities, Military, Abuse Pages: 7 (2691 words) Published: October 8, 1999
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...
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