In time for the celebration of African American History Month, pictures of a “gangsta-themed” party at Clemson University that mocked African Americans
surfaced on the social networking Web site Facebook.
The party titled “Living the Dream” featured partygoers in blackface paint holding 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor. Some were even pictured wearing fake afros and padding in their pants to imitate
what they believe a black woman’s rear end looks like. But wait, that’s not all. One of the females pictured is dressed as Aunt Jemima, grinning broadly and wearing a scarf on her head while holding up two bottles of syrup.
We could not agree more with Clemson President James F. Barker when he said he was “appalled, angered and disappointed” by the images of the off-campus party. To add insult to injury the party was held during the Martin L. King Jr. holiday weekend. Clearly, those Clemson students were celebrating Dr. King’s message in their own sick, twisted way.
Though we believe that throwing these parties at any time is wrong, the fact that the parties were thrown on the weekend of MLK’s birthday makes it much worse in our opinion. The frustrating part is that the students involved told Clemson officials that they never meant any racial harm and had no clue that their actions were offensive. Yet, they had the audacity to post photos of the party on Facebook.But we are not at all surprised by their actions, realizing that regardless of the year, racism still exists and continues to threaten race relations on even the most diverse campuses.
In fact, Clemson is not alone.We can now add the following colleges
to the list where racially insensitive students organize “gangsta or ghetto-themed” parties: Penn State, University of Connecticut, Baylor University, University of Texas, Austin, University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. The disturbing part, besides the fact that these parties occur, is that they appear to be a growing trend, which makes us raise the question of whether or not these types of parties happen right here.
Occurences like the one at Clemson simply give another reason as to why students should consider supporting the Diversity Dialogue Series, organized by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Temple Student Government’s Diversity Affairs Committee.
We can all learn a lesson from this degradable act.