On MLK day, some Clemson University student decided to have a gangsta themed party, complete with malt liquor, girls with their pants stuffed, and gold teeth. One co-ed actually showed up in black face. The news has been leading with this story and billing it as racisms, accusing the co-eds of propogating racial stereotypes.
Without thinking through the deeper issues, the public has a tendancy to get on the PC bandwagon. So I have been giving this issue some thought as I file. Please excuse the stream on consciousness.
Outrage seems pointed at the disrespect shown to Martin Luther King, Jr. by having this party on the day commemorting his and other’s work in the civil rights movement. But if this kind of behavior is offensive, the day of the year is irrelevant. Does the media pick up this story if the party is in April? And they say that the party is offensive because it exploits black stereotypes. But black comedians do this all the time. And so does Hollywood. And this may be even more dangerous than some Clemson kids being rediculous. I see kids, black and white, living up to streoetypes all the time. When you tell someone what they are enough times, they begin to become that. Is it just a case of “I can beat up my little brother, but you better not touch him!” ? Are stereotypes absolutely wrong or only if highlighted by people outside of the lampooned group? This whole thing feels a little hypocritical somehow.
The media keeps saying that it is offensive because they were steroetyping blacks. But it wasn’t a “Come dressed as a black person” party. It was specifically a gangsta party. The students took their costumes directly from BET. That image is glorified by the rap and hip-hop industry as a good thing. I can understand if the party was “come dressed as a black person” and instead of Sidney Portier, Oprah, and everyone’s favorite senator from Il, the students showed up the way they did, thus making the statement that “black” inherantly means gangsta. But you can’t go to a costume party without embracing the image of the chosen theme.
College kids are stupid. We ALL did things in college that we would change if we could, or had attitudes that we are glad we left behind. More than likely, these are just kids that are learning that there are things that seem to be a good idea until they end up on the news. I don’t know them, so I can’t say. If one of those kids had been my little sister, we would be having a long and very specific conversation. I just know that there were a lot of things I didn’t know were hurtful until someone told me.
When I saw the pictures, I had mixed reaction somewhere between outrage and rolled eyes. At the end of the day, whether they are evil or just stupid, they have a constitutional right to be that way.
Black face is beyond offensive. Someone needs to teach these kids.