Fraternities and sororities at most campi (I know, usually campuses is pluralized normally, but Latin pluralization is much more elegant) are still rather compartmentalized; every campus has a “steroid fraternity”, and usually its the same group, which is unusual (I will not mention which group). Today, there tends to be a fraternity on each campus which has a large number of openly gay members, although the majority of the group may not be gay. This is in addition to the growing number of openly gay fraternities (before you ask, they generally have a “brothers may not date brothers” rule) especially at southern colleges. Jewish fraternities and black fraternities are slightly different in that Jewish fraternities are usually NIFC (national interfraternal council) members, whereas black fraternities are generally NPHC (national pan-Hellenic council). Also, Jewish fraternities usually have a number of non-Jewish members, whereas I have yet to see a black fraternity with a white member. Many “white” fraternities aggressively recruit black members today, but black fraternity members are rare for two reasons: they are more likely than white (or other minority) students to be in football or basketball programs, and modern college athletes don’t really have time for Greek life along with their sport(s). Also, at a campus with black fraternities, many who would otherwise join a “white” group will go to a black group instead simply because they are more comfortable there. Success in recruiting minority members generally begets more success- I was a little more comfortable joining my chapter because there happened to be another Asian member already, and several minority alumni. I don’t know much about compartmentalization at northern schools, so if anyone else wishes to contribute on this point, feel free.
NPHC (African-American) Greeks DO tend to have harsher hazing rituals; I’ve met several dozen members with their letters branded into their arms, and such- a white fraternity condoning this kind of treatment would certainly have lost its charter. White groups tend to attract more hazing attention because they often have clearly delineated “houses”, though. Greek Park on our campus is more aggressively patrolled by the campus PD than any other area, and thus illegal activities are more likely to be spotted.
There are a number of legal issues relating to Greek life that are ignored for tradition’s sake, though. The idea that a college can recognize an organization which is selective (and thus, quite possibly, discriminatory) in its recruitment practices is not seen in any other type of college organization, to the best of my knowledge (beyond sports).
This is a controversial issue at several colleges because Interfratenity Councils and Panhellenic Councils (fraternity and sorority local governing bodies) often recieve funding from student governments.
Colleges in general like Greek organizations for one specific reason, however- Greek graduates are much more (23% more in 1999) to donate to their alma mater. I don’t know if the same holds true for black organizations, but it would be tricky to appeal a hazing penalty to one’s college or national headquarters on the grounds that “black fraternities do worse”.
There is still usually a “geek frat”, a “rich frat”, and a “jock frat” too, although most groups are now a fairly even mix.