Tag Archives: campus-racism

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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Study: racist language common among white college students

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Given the proliferation of “ghetto” and “gangsta” parties, blackface and racist “satirical” student newspaper articles lately, the results of this study come as no great surprise.

From The Associated Press:

A University of Dayton sociologist who analyzed journals kept by 626 white college students found the students behaved substantially differently when they were in the company of other whites than when they were with other races.

Part of the culture?
When the students, who were asked to record their interactions with other people, were alone with other white students, racial stereotypes and racist language were surprisingly common, researcher Leslie Picca found. One student reported hearing the “n-word” among white students 27 times in a single day.

The results suggest white students have little sense of shame about racial insults and stereotyping and treat them as simply a part of the culture.

“This is a new generation who grew up watching ‘The Cosby Show,”’ Picca said. “They have the belief that racism isn’t a problem anymore so the words they use and the jokes they tell aren’t racist.”

Picca said she found it “heartbreaking” to see so many well-educated students perpetuating the stereotypes.

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 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

Blackface at Texas A&M: dialogue, not just condemnation, is needed

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

blackface texas A&MWe’ve documented the upward rise in blackface and “ghetto party” incidents extensively on this blog, but I’m still amazed by how prevalent it is, and how it seems to be spreading faster than ever, especially on college campuses.

The latest blackface incident comes from Texas A&M (thanks Sandra!). Two white students made a video in which one of them was supposed to be a “slave” being disciplined by the other one. You can view a clip of it here (you’ll have to sit through a few commercials first). Here’s the description of the tape from ABC News:

On the tape, the white student in blackface is disciplined by a second white student playing the role of a slave master with a belt. Professors say the white student is carrying a “12th Man Towel,” a symbol of how Texas A&M fans help the football team. In the three-and-a-half minute tape, the student in blackface is put through a mock whipping and sexual assault.

University spokespeople don’t want to confirm that the students involved were disciplined, but they did say that both students are no longer enrolled at the school. Texas A&M President Robert Gates (about to leave the post to be the new Secretary of Defense) also issued a statement saying that the video is “so utterly disgusting that, regardless of race, religion, or background, I believe virtually any member of our Aggie family would be outraged and ashamed if they viewed it.”

It’s good that the responses have been unambiguously condemnatory, but at the end of the day, condemning these actions won’t bring about any real change.

I hope that Texas A&M will learn something from Whitman College (thanks Lyonside!). There was an outcry among the student body when photos were found of students who put on blackface to mimic the racially segregated cast of “Survivor: Cook Islands” at an off-campus party.

Instead of merely denouncing this act, Whitman College cancelled classes for an entire day and organized a full-day symposium on race relations which every single student had to attend.

And this wasn’t some lame “we are the world,” “there’s no race but the human race” crapfest. Take a look at the agenda. Some of the panels and workshops included:

  • The History of Blackface
  • Creepy Fun, Complicit Thoughtlessness, and Taking Action
  • On Being White in A Racist Society: A Workshop on Becoming An Effective Ally
  • Individual vs. Institutional Discrimination
  • “I’m Not a Racist”: Feigning Moral Blindness
  • Race, Class and Gender in Outdoor Sports and Institutions; AKA “Why is it Always White Dudes Leading Trips?”
  • The History of Race in the Greek System

Wow. Now that demonstrates a commitment to diversity.

I sincerely hope that Texas A&M, and all the other schools that have experienced similar incidents, will look to Whitman as an example of what to do. Condemning these racist acts is important. But at the end of the day, if the perpetrator doesn’t understand why what he/she did was wrong or offensive, nothing is going to change.

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