Tag Archives: blackface

University of Arizona students celebrate MLK day with blackface party

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

It seems like college students across America were really busy on January 15th coming up with ways to mock the memory of Martin Luther King. Not only did students at Tarleton State University, University of Connecticut School of Law, and Clemson University throw “ghetto parties” on MLK Day, now comes word that students at the University of Arizona did the same (thanks for the tip, Kynn).

Only this party didn’t even go with the vague “ghetto” theme. They actually asked attendees to dress up as their “favorite black person.” From The Wildcat Online:

An image posted on the social networking Web site Facebook shows partygoers dressed in do-rags and fur coats with black-painted faces.

After being invited, pre-business freshman Brianna Tarleton and a friend inquired as to the meaning of a “black” party.

“My friend asked, ‘How would you do that?’ (Kuechel) said, ‘You know, dress up like gangsters, pimps and hos,’” Tarleton said.

You gotta love the justification given by Kuechel, the kid who threw the party:

While many UA students condemned the party, the UA student who threw the party, agricultural education sophomore Kyle Kuechel, said the party was not intended to be offensive.

“In order to come, you had to dress as your favorite black person,” Kuechel said. “Two people were dressed as lawyers, and two from ‘Family Matters.’”…

Kuechel said four of the 15 partygoers were black and were not offended by the party.

Oh, my bad! If those 15 four black people (thanks, Colin) thought it was all good, then I guess it was.

Blackface at William Jewell College and KKK costume at Macalester College

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

The latest in the rash of racist incidents sweeping across college campuses come from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri (hat tip to Rachel) and Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

From KMBC-TV:

Last Wednesday night, one student at William Jewell College is accused of painting his face and hands black, and then jumping from doorways at Eaton Hall and shouting racial slurs for about 30 minutes, officials said. A total of seven students are believed to have been involved.

From The Mac Weekly, Macalester’s student paper:

A party hosted by Macalester students on Tuesday, Jan. 16 is under investigation by the Macalester College Harassment Committee (MCHC). The costume party, themed “politically incorrect,” was hosted in one of the college’s cottages on Macalester Street.

A particular costume choice by two students caught the attention of Paul Maitland-McKinley ’09, president of the student organization Black Liberation Affairs Committee (BLAC). Maitland-McKinley learned of the party last Friday, Jan. 26, from an anonymous student who was present at the party. The costume involved one student dressing as a Ku Klux Klan member, with a second student wearing face paint to appear dark skinned. The costume also included a simulated noose, one end in the hand of the Klan-costumed member, the other end around the student with the blackface’s neck.

Addicted to Race 58: Shilpa Shetty, Ghetto Parties, Superbowl

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

addicted to raceA brand-new episode (No. 58) of Addicted to Race is out! Addicted to Race is New Demographic’s weekly podcast about America’s obsession with race.

Carmen is joined by guest co-host Liam McGrath in this episode. Liam is a long-time listener of the show, and is the man responsible for the voiceovers in our intro and outro.

They discuss the recent rash of “ghetto” or “gangsta” parties on college campuses, as well as the phenomenon of both Superbowl teams having black coaches this year. Carmen also interviews Sarita Malik, author of the book Representing Black Britain: Black and Asian Images on British Television about the recent controversy surrounding the UK reality show Celebrity Big Brother.

This episode features the songs “Pop Rocks” by Junk Science and “Truth Is” by Brother Ali, courtesy of Spectre Entertainment Group.

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Clemson University students also throw “gangsta party” on MLK day

clemson university blackface ghetto gangsta party

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I’m with Philip on this. These pictures make me want to vomit. As if the head-to-toe blackface wasn’t enough, some girl had to stuff the seat of her pants to give herself an exaggerated butt?

According to this article, the students did not realize their “gangsta theme” party would coincide with MLK day and shocker, they did not realize this would be offensive to anyone:

Students who organized the party have come forward to school officials to express a desire to reach out to those who were offended by the event and the pictures posted of it, said Robin Denny, the university news services director.

“The students said this was not intended to be offensive to anybody at all and (they) did not realize it would be,” Ms. Denny said.

I’d like to hear from students of color at Clemson or any of the other universities that have thrown these “ghetto” or “gangsta” parties. I can’t imagine what it would be like to know that my classmates are indulging in this kind of racism.

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clemson university ghetto gangsta blackface party

Tarleton State and U Conn Law celebrate MLK with “ghetto” and “gangster” parties

by guest contributor Philip Arthur Moore, originally published at TheThink

tarleton state university gangster party mlk dayI knew I should have put a bet in for when we’d hear about college kids throwing ghetto parties on Martin Luther King Day. Absolutely despicable:

Authorities at Tarleton State University said they plan to investigate a Martin Luther King Jr. Day party that mocked black stereotypes by featuring fried chicken, malt liquor and faux gang apparel.

“I feel like there is no excuse for this type of ignorance,” said Donald Ray Elder, president of the Stephenville school’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Photographs posted on social networking Web site Facebook.com showed partygoers wearing Afro wigs and fake gold and silver teeth. One photo showed students “mocking how African-Americans do step shows,” Elder said. In another picture, a student is dressed as Aunt Jemima and carries a gun.

“That upsets me,” Elder said. “That’s someone who knows nothing about Dr. King, because Dr. King was totally about nonviolence.”

You can find photos from the entire event over at The Smoking Gun. Thanks so much for the tip, Rachel.

university of connecticut school of law mlk day party ghetto partySpeaking of white kids and gangster parties, The Smoking Gun has yet another story about some University of Connecticut Law students throwing a party of their own:

Seems that questionable parties were not limited this month to a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at a Texas college. Turns out students at the University of Connecticut School of Law also opted for do-rags, gang signs, gold teeth, malt liquor, and a fake machine gun during an off-campus gathering last weekend, just days after the civil rights leader’s January 15 birthday. One future attorney even wore fake tiger claw tattoos on her chest, an apparent homage to the rapper Eve.

I don’t want to make wild conclusions from all of this, but one thing that comes to mind is the reality that the legal system will one day be run by these people. Would it be a stretch to say, then, that the legal system is racist? Because these parties surely are.

Find more photos at The Smoking Gun, and stay the hell away from Facebook.com if you plan on being a racist party boy.

The 10 biggest race and pop culture trends of 2006: Part 3 of 3

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

This is the last in my series breaking down the top trends in race and pop culture of 2006. If you missed it, check out Monday’s trends 10 through 8 and yesterday’s trends 7 through 4 . Here’s the final list:

10. Race-swapping undercover experiments
9. Hipster racism
8. The continuing obsession with interracial relationships
7. The new minstrel show
6. Racism on college campuses
5. Fear of a Latino takeover
4. The return of the white man’s burden
3. Colorface everywhere!
2. Celebrity racial slurs
1. Race baiting

3. Colorface everywhere!

It seemed like blackface, brownface and yellowface was everywhere in 2006, even in the most unexpected places. Some of these blackface incidents we’ve already covered. For example, Kate Moss in blackface for The Independent’s Africa issue, the many “ghetto parties” and blackface incidents included in racism on college campuses and the Tyra Banks Show episode where she had Angela Nissel go on dates with three men both as a black woman and as a white woman .

Liberal blogs Firedoglake and Billmon (who has since stopped blogging) both decided to use blackface images to mock people they didn’t like/respect. Firedoglake blacked up a photo of Joseph Lieberman in a post accusing him of race-baiting. Billmon blacked up a photo of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after he complained about Lynne Cheney being uncooperative during an interview. Both issued the standard “I’m sorry you’re offended but I’m just so brave and un-PC” apologies, leading ebogjonson to create a flowchart for those bloggers asking themselves if they should use blackface on their blog. In case you were wondering, if you answer yes to being white, the answer is “STOP! You CANNOT use blackface EVER under any circumstances.” Also, be sure to check out Kai Chang’s series on racism in the liberal blogosphere .

A movie based on the 1970s TV series “Kung Fu” is in the works. As you probably know, biracial Asian/white protagonist Kwai Chang Caine was played by David Carradine in the series. And he’s been milking the virtual yellowface gig ever since, from his role in Kill Bill to his stupid Yellowbook.com commercials. The question is, which white guy are they going to get to play Kwai Chang Caine in the movie version? Who has enough “Asian flavor?” I’m putting my money on Steven Seagal. ;) Continue reading

The 10 biggest race and pop culture trends of 2006: Part 2 of 3

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I’m continuing my series breaking down the top trends in race and pop culture of 2006. So here we go with numbers 7 through 4 of my list. Check back tomorrow for the top 3, and if you missed it, check out yesterday’s trends 10 through 8.

7. The new minstrel show
6. Racism on college campuses
5. Fear of a Latino takeover
4. The return of the white man’s burden

7. The new minstrel show

North Carolina hip hop group Little Brother titled its late 2005 release The Minstrel Show, and they couldn’t have been more prescient because minstrelsy made a huge comeback in 2006 in all forms of media: movies, television, music and even the internet.

  • MOVIES: Tyler Perry made a killing by cashing in on the public’s love for black men in dresses. Diary of a Mad Black Woman was nominated for an NAACP Image Award (yeah, I know) and its sequel, Madea’s Family Reunion, opened No. 1 at the box office with $30 million.
  • TV: Flava Flav, the new millenium’s Stepin Fetchit, ruled reality TV in 2006. The March finale of his VH1 show Flavor of Love drew 6 million viewers, making it the highest-rated show ever for the cable channel. And when the show returned in early August, 3 million people tuned in for the premiere. But Flavor of Love is just the tip of the iceberg in Viacom’s not-so-classy depictions of black folks, as I outlined in this post. In November we heard a rumor that BET was going to start a reality show starring Bobby Brown and Karrine “Superhead” Steffans (author of Confessions of a Video Vixen). And TV commercials continued to rely on the archetype of the big black sassy mammy for humor.
  • MUSIC: Byron Crawford really nailed it when he wrote: “Flush with revenue from the likes of Mike Jones’ Who Is Mike Jones?, the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song),” Three-Six Mafia’s Academy Award-winning theme to Hustle and Flow, and D4l’s “Laffy Taffy,” record labels are rushing out to sign the most coon-like negros they can find.” Cases in point: DJ Webstar and Young B’s Chicken Noodle Soup, Ms Peachez’ Fry That Chicken, but perhaps the most egregious example is Jibbs’ Chain Hang Low, which is set to an actual minstrel tune known as “Zip Coon” or “Turkey in the Straw.” No subtlety there. And don’t forget the ongoing tradition on The Maury Show known as the Not a Baby Daddy Dance. Of course, rapper NYOIL tried to address the minstrelsy problem in hip hop with his problematic and controversial video, Y’all Should All Get Lynched. See varying analyses of this video here and here. Continue reading

The 10 biggest race and pop culture trends of 2006: Part 1 of 3

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

On episode 12 of Addicted to Race back in January 2006, Jen and I counted down the top trends of the previous year, 2005. They were: DNA tests, hate crimes, celebrities talk about race, how can I be racist? I’m in an interracial relationship!, blackface is back, race still black and white only, more products for mixed people and families.

I figured I’d continue that tradition by breaking down the top trends in race and pop culture of 2006. Thanks to everyone who submitted their ideas. Here are some honorable mentions that didn’t make it into my list as stand-alone items, though you’ll see that almost all will be mentioned as part of other items: non-apologies, anti-PC movement, comparing races, un-PC humor, all things Africa, black and gay half-brothers on sitcoms.

And by the way, be sure to check out Rachel’s Been There Done That List of Unfashionable Racial Issues and I’m So Hot I’m on Fire List of The Most Fashionable Racial Trends of 2006 .

So here we go with numbers 10 through 8 of my list. Check back tomorrow for 7 through 4, and Wednesday for the top 3.

10. Race-swapping undercover experiments
9. Hipster racism
8. The continuing obsession with interracial relationships

10. Race-swapping undercover experiments

TV during the first quarter of 2006 was all about undercover experiments, so much so that I actually wrote a post about it in late February. (And the queen of undercover experiments was undoubtedly Miss Tyra Banks.)

Not all of these experiments had to with race:

  • Tyra Banks goes undercover in a fatsuit to examine prejudice against overweight people
  • Journalist Norah Vincent goes undercover as a man and writes the book Self-Made Man : One Woman’s Journey into Manhood and Back
  • Tyra Banks dons “trashy clothes, a latex nose and a wig to disguise herself as a sexy dancer and took a secret film crew into a strip club” to expose the “sleazy world of strippers and pole dancers.”

But a great many of them were all about race:

  • The most notorious example was the reality series Black.White. on FX, in which a white family put on blackface and a black family put on whiteface to see what it was like living as a different “race.” As you can imagine, it was festival of racial stereotypes in which nobody learned anything constructive about anything.
  • Tyra Banks sends a black woman (who on a previous show declared she hated black women) out in whiteface to try and get at “the root of her hate.” She also sent the black/white mixed writer Angela Nissel (whom I interviewed on episode 24 of Addicted to Race) on dates “both as a black woman and as a white women to see if they treat her differently.”
  • Even Oprah got in on the race-swapping fun when she entered “The Human Race Machine” to see “what she looks like white? Asian? Hispanic?” Ugh!

Sometimes the race-swapping wasn’t done in an undercover fashion, but simply by putting a black person in a white community or a white person in a black community (because you know, those are the only two races that count on TV).

  • Dr. Phil did a god-awful episode about race in which he forced a white racist to spend two whole days with a black family in an effort to “cure” him of his racism. You can my rant about it in episode 13 of Addicted to Race.
  • Trading Spouses did an episode in which the Josephs (a black family from Harlem, NYC) and the Gibbons (a white family from Mendon, Massachusetts) swapped spouses.

Continue reading