U.S. Postal carrier Iran Becton was recently on the receiving end of a joke masterminded by University of Chicago’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
“About a week after Memorial Day, I had an order to bring 79 of the boxes. I came to the address and explained to the frat member that I would have a lot more supplies. I went back to the truck for the boxes about six or seven times,” Becton told the Chicago 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.”
The items — all 79 of them — were addressed to “Reggin Toggaf.” Written backward, the first name is a racial slur. The last name is a slur for gay men.
“I was humiliated,” said Becton, an African American.
Becton wants an apology; the Chicago Division Postal Inspection Services is reportedly investigating and mail delivery to the Phi Delt house has been suspended until they issue a written apology to Becton. The Sun-Times notes in addition to the impact on Becton, the prank involved “the abuse and possibly the destruction of postal property,” which is a criminal offense.
A statement from the university calls the incident “deplorable” and says the school is cooperating with the Postal Service investigation.
Ironically the incident happened just days after anti-racism activist and writer Tim Wise spoke to the campus about the ignorance of dominant social groups as a persistent problem in America and the University of Chicago community. Apparently members of Phi Delta Theta missed that talk.