by Carmen Van Kerckhove
The latest racist campus party comes to us from California’s Santa Clara University, where students decided to um, honor their Latino brothers and sisters by throwing a”South of the Border Party.” Students dressed up as janitors, female gangsters and pregnant women. (Hat tip to Rachel and thanks to Susan too!.) From the Contra Costa Times:
Photographs taken at the private, off-campus party and splashed on Internet sites reveal a crude and narrow portrayal of Latino life. One student hammed it up before the camera with a stuffed balloon on her belly, under her blouse. Another posed for a close-up shot of her puckered mouth, thickly lipsticked and lined in black. One student wore a janitorial costume complete with the long, rubber gloves commonly used to clean bathrooms.
Students have already begun organizing responses to this party. From The Santa Clara, the school’s student paper:
MEChA and La Communidad Latina both held special meetings to address the issue, while the MCC organized a silent march to Locatelli’s State of the University speech.
At least 250 students, faculty members and administrators of many ethnicities gathered in support and walked through campus behind a banner that read, “In unity there is strength.”
Supporters wore orange armbands and orange ribbons. Aguas said in her e-mail advertising for the march that orange symbolizes anti-racism.
“It’s not a particular party, nor a particular person, but addressing the whole issue of having theme parties that reinforce negative stereotypes,” Aguas said.
She cited other parties, including one in November 2006 with a “Fresh off the Boat” theme in which attendees were encouraged to dress as a new immigrant. At publication, pictures from that party were still on Facebook.