Evil or Ignorant

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.


9 Responses to Evil or Ignorant

  1. katie says:

    i too wonder if the media would have blown this up if it had happened on any other day or weekend. i lean towards suggesting they wouldn’t. in the wake of all this, i’ve heard stories of fraternities (& some non-affiliated groups) who held way more offensive parties that have never been brought to media attention. do i think these students were wrong? yes, but i also harbor hope that maybe too they were just naive. as far as showing up in black face, there’s no excuse in the world for that.

    a lot of the media outlets have been pushing the question what is the administration at clemson going to do about it? what will they do with the students? in my opinion, anything further than expressing their dissappointment is outside of what a public school should be allowed. i think the media humiliation will be more than enough for most of those involved.

  2. cheryl says:

    I heard pf a party that the alphas throw in which they dress as conferate soldiers, the girls dress in period clothes, and they hire little black kids to walk around with baskets of cotton.

    i just don’t understand. this is the 21st century. i gues education/enlightenment does not fix the evil in the human heart.

  3. Jared says:

    Little black kids. With cotton.
    And you say that the you won’t live up here becaues of the cold?
    I’ll take cold over back-assward.

  4. cheryl says:

    ya know? i got nothin. it is too cold up there, though.

  5. Tammy says:

    I agree with Katie that the media would have a hay-day if they knew what kind of mixers fraternities/sororities have. There’s the White Trash Bash–could possibly offend someone. There’s the Cowboys and Indians–I’m sure the Native Americans would be greatly offended. And then there’s always the Halloween mixer where people come in ridiculously offensive costumes.
    The Clemson students may have been ignorant, but they were just taking their cue from what they witness around them at other mixers. They basically had a gangsta “mixer” and got caught. Don’t tell anyone, but I know that there were some gangsta mixers at CofC while I was there. No one painted their faces black, but everyone dressed the same way that people are dressed on BET. I guess the media just didn’t find out.
    I agree that if it were a mixer that said come dressed “Black”, then people would have a right to be offended. But, because it was a gangsta party, people were just dressing/acting the same way that gangstas act. Just as a side note, I know of a party at CofC where the black students had a “ho-down” mixer and they all came dressed as hick farmers and danced to country music….why didn’t the white students rise up and say they were offended?
    I don’t think it was appropriate on MLK day. Bad judgement on their part. But, you have to understand that these stereotype parties/mixers are going to continue to happen. They aren’t PC. I’m not a big fan of PC all the time anyways. And that is a whole ‘nother blog entry to address PC issues…
    I don’t think Clemson administration should have to do anything about the party. If they did, they would also have to cancel all fraternity and sorority mixers in fear that SOMEONE will be offended by the theme. Give me a break…

  6. cheryl says:

    well, let’s be clear about one thing. i don’t think these kids were sitting around wondering what they could do for fun on a friday night. they were being smart asses. they were trying to make a point. and i think their point was “we’re smart asses.” i don’t know that they were being deliberate enought to be trying to make a more thoughtful point.

    on a slightly different note, i wish they would rename MLK day. they should just make it “Civil Rights Day.” SO many people worked to bring about civil rights in this country. Some well known names and some people who gave their lives but will never be remembered. This is just my opinion.

  7. Papa Robbie says:

    The students were ignorant. Apparently this is a tradition ALL over the country to disrespect MLK’s legacy by having these parties. In Texas, there was a party this year and there was a white woman dressed as Aunt Jemima…I haven’t seen Aunt Jemima in any music videos. Those students at Clemson and many other schools were being blatantly disrespectful. The “Ho-Down” party mentioned above is questionable…BET and MTV are poisonous (who owns them?) I’m just sayin’. I don’t expect positive images from Viacom. Sex & Violence make money….That’s their bottom line. I know for a fact that if I walked up on that dude with blackface, he’d have a very LONG day. I’m just waiting for the re-make of Birth Of A Nation and to hear some people say “hey, it’s only art”. The 1st amendment protects the idiots at Clemson and other schools….it also allows me to call them some bass-ackwards troglodytes. I have several pictures from the various parties….I can’t wait for some of them to run for office.

  8. Jared says:

    Well said Papa Robbie. About the 1st ammendment. The answer to bad ‘speech’ isn’t censorship, it’s more speech. Particularly informing these kids that yes, they are “Bass-ackwards troglodytes”

  9. Smith says:

    And THAT’s why it’s a good thing the media is all over it. Add in some national speech to show these kids how idiotic their actions really were. Too bad the media manages to slam the school and stereotype other students though…it seems they are falling into the same trap they are protesting against.

    I think there’s a difference in having non-pc parties to mock pc-ness and having non-pc parties because you are an idiot and don’t know any better. The former is acceptable – we should challenge the need to watch our every word. The latter is a product of ignorance and should be addressed as such.

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