Not Just Halloween Anymore
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- White students at Tarleton State University in Texas hold a party in which they dress in gang gear and drink malt liquor from paper bags. A white Clemson University student attends a bash in blackface over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. A fraternity at Johns Hopkins University invites partygoers to wear "bling bling" grills, or shiny metal caps on their teeth.
From Connecticut to Colorado, "gangsta" theme parties thrown by whites are drawing the ire of college officials and heated complaints from black and white students who say the antics conjure the worst racial stereotypes.
. . .At an off-campus "Bullets and Bubbly" party thrown by University of Connecticut School of Law students in January, pictures showed students wearing baggy jeans, puffy jackets and holding fake machine guns.
The University of Colorado's Ski and Snowboard Club advertised a "gangsta party" in September, with fliers featuring rappers and fake bullet holes. The theme was dropped after complaints, but some students, who didn't get the message, showed up in gangsta garb, hoping to win prizes.
Often such parties go unnoticed outside campuses until students post pictures on Facebook.com and other Web sites. That's how images of the Clemson party surfaced this week. One student wore blackface; another white student put padding in her pants to make her rear end look bigger.
Harold Hughes, a black fraternity member at Clemson whose frat brothers attended the party, said white students "see this on MTV and BET they think it's cool to portray hip hop culture." Hughes said he found it especially offensive that the party was held over a holiday created to honor the slain civil rights leader.
Many white Clemson students said they did not believe the party was held to intentionally offend blacks, and after news of the party reached beyond the campus, organizers issued an unsigned letter of apology.
I'll have more to say about this later, I promise. Meanwhile, here are some photos courtesy of The Smoking Gun.