It’s been six months since we’ve discovered evidence of another racist party or antic on a college or high school campus. I guess it was about time for another… well, three more. Updated and re-posted.
This post is a collection of racially-themed parties and events at college and high school campuses. They’re examples of one kind of simple individual racism that still perpetuates daily life in the U.S.
April 2013: This still is from a video celebrating the spring semester induction of new recruits into UC Irvine’s Asian-American fraternity Lambda Theta Delta (via Colorlines). It features a fraternity member in blackface. The entire video can be seen here.
February 2013: Three hockey fans in the audience of a North Dakota high school semifinal donned Ku Klux Klan-ish hoods as a “joke,” they later said:
October 2012: The photograph below depicts the members of the Chi Omega sorority at Penn State (source). It was taken during a Mexican fiesta-themed party around Halloween. The signs read: “will mow lawn for weed & beer” and “I don’t cut grass I smoke it.”
The Vice President of the college’s Mexican American Student Association, Cesar Sanchez Lopez, wrote:
The Mexican American Student Association is disappointed in the attire chosen by this sorority. It in no way represents our culture. Not only have they chosen to stereotype our culture with serapes and sombreros, but the insinuation about drug usage makes this image more offensive. Our country is plagued by a drug war that has led to the death of an estimated 50,000 people, which is nothing to be joked about.
The president of the sorority sent out an apology. Penalties are under discussion as of this posting.
May 2012: The University of Chicago’s Alpha Delta Phi fraternity required pledges to wear ”Mexican labor outfits” and sombreros while mowing the frat house lawn to Mexican ranchera music (source).
UPDATE: A University of Chicago student involved in reporting this incident wrote it to say that the photograph we originally published is likely unrelated to the Alpha Delta Phi incident (that is, a fake or a photo of a different event). In other words, the incident happened, but the photograph was not of the incident. Accordingly, we’ve removed the photo.
September 2011: Students at Hautes Etudes Commerciales, a Montreal business school, were filmed “wearing black makeup [and] chant[ing] with mock Jamaican accents about smoking marijuana” as part of a skit (source). A student explained that it was part of a skit in honor of Jamacian Olympian Usain Bolt. A spokesperson for the school explained that Francophone Canadians were unaware of the racial history behind blackface.
Anthony Morgan, a law student at McGill University, caught the students on film. He welcomed an apology from the school, is eager to follow up on their own investigation of the incident and, in the meantime, is filing a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission (source). He explained:
[Being black] is not a costume that you put on… This is not just about a few bad apples. This is about a greater problem about what we think about, how we value, how we understand, how we discuss — if we discuss — black history, culture and contribution.
Race-themed events at colleges and universities are a yearly ritual. I include our collection of such parties and “celebrations” below.
February 2010: Members of the Athletics Union at the London School of Economics painted their faces brown and “dressed up as Guantanamo Bay inmates and drunkenly yelled ‘Oh Allah’…” At least 12 students were found to have dressed up in costumes that were deemed “racist, religiously insensitive and demeaning.”
October 2009: University of Toronto students decided to dress up like the Jamaican bobsled team from Cool Runnings for Halloween (source). Their costume, which earned them a “Costume of the Night” award at this college-sponsored party, included blackface.
February 2007: Pictures from a “South of the Border” party at Santa Clara University in California. Indeed, that IS a pregnant woman, cleaning ladies, and a slutty gang member.
January 2007: A party in “honor” of Martin Luther King Day at Clemson College in South Carolina:
2007: Students at Wilfrid Laurier University, celebrating Nations of the World, represented Jamaica by putting on blackface (via @LindaQuirke):
The Greek letters on the purple shirts reference a black fraternity on campus.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Cross-posted at VitaminW.
In 2006, The Walt Disney Company bought the computer-animated feature film powerhouse Pixar. This makes the lead of their most recent movie, Brave (2012), not just a princess, but a Disney Princess. Merida is having a royal coronation at the Magic Kingdom this morning.
For her coronation, the princess has gotten a good ol’ Disney makeover. On the left is the new Merida (“after”) and on the right is the old Merida (“before”). Notice any differences?
Here are the ones that I see:
We’ll add the new Merida to our always-growing collection of toys and logos that have received sexy make-overs. You’ll love this Pinterest page, featuring a surprising set of newly sexy characters, including Care Bears, Polly Pockets, Holly Hobbie, Strawberry Shortcake, My Little Pony, Rainbow Brite, Cabbage Patch Kids, Dora the Explorer, and the Trollz.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Cross-posted at The Ethical Adman.
So it turns out there’s this company that makes “zombie” targets for gun enthusiasts. They have clown zombies, nazi zombies, “terrorist” zombies, dog zombies and even a green zombie named “Rocky” that has Barack Obama’s ears.
And one woman.
Here’s their explanation:
The Zombie virus does not discriminate and neither does Zombie Industries. We take preparation for the Zombie Apocalypse seriously, which is why we strive to have all groups of undead monsters represented in our product selection. In addition to the Ex Girlfriend Zombie, we currently sell 15 male zombies, 5 animal zombies & 2 aliens… to discriminate against Women by not having them represented in our product selection would be just plain sexist.
Each of the zombie targets has a story. Here is the story of “The Ex”:
Be warned, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but a man scorned is nothing to mess with! A young gent from Louisiana, we’ll call him André to protect his identity, was deeply committed to his one true love and her to him, or so he thought. While partying with her friends during one particular Mardi Gras, she took several suitors over the course of the festivities. André felt something odd indeed, so he paid a visit to his great aunt, Marie, who helped him see the truth. With a few eggs, candles lit and kiss upon his forehead, her voodoo curse was set in motion. Late each night while lying in bed, a smile would appear across his face, for a slight breeze would travel through a cracked window bringing with it, a faint whiff of decay and a unnatural cry of regret.
That’s right. In this narrative, a man kills a woman for cheating on him, and has her turned into a zombie. Which you, bro, are now invited to blow to bits.
Despite the game-like zombie theme, it is notable that the single human female representation has been created specifically as a target of violent male anger towards a woman’s ownership of her own sexuality. And ”The Ex” is portrayed in a highly sexual way, with what seems to be a bare lower torso and busting out chest.
Policymic writes, “Every day, at least three women are killed by an intimate partner in the US alone. Let’s make sure those numbers go down, not up. Let’s make sure companies like Zombies Industries know that we’re not buying it.”
Some people, however, are buying it. And this is what’s most troubling.
From the product reviews:
This Zombie Bitch is awesome, reminds me of a girl I knew in High School, My LMT LM308MWS should put a stop to the undead bring them on !!! Later Party till you drop Corvette forever !!!!!
I love that this target looks like Britney Spears and it bleeds when I shot it.
Tom Megginson is a Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. He is a specialist in social marketing, cause marketing, and corporate social responsibility. You can follow Tom at workthatmatters.blogspot.com.
I was so honored to be invited to give the AKD Induction Ceremony Address for the University of Akron this year. It was an opportunity to give a speech about something in which I deeply believe: the awesomeness of sociology. So, here it is!
My 13 minute ode to the discipline, featuring (an attempt at) self-deprecating sociology humor and a few personal confessions regarding my own rough start with sociology:Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
At about 1:00 Monday, a quorum of the Occidental Faculty overwhelmingly voted No Confidence in the campus attorney, Carl Botterud, and the Dean of Students, Barbara Avery. I was among the faculty in attendance.
The votes are in response to a belief that these high-level Occidental employees have mishandled sexual assault education, reporting, and adjudication in ways that have harmed individual students and campus culture.
While the motions are symbolic, such measures are quite rare. It is a very powerful statement coming from a faculty united in defense of survivors of sexual assault and their allies. We now wait to see how the College President, Jonathan Veitch, moves forward. The two are currently still active employees at Occidental (that is, not on administrative leave) and Avery continues to chaperone students through the reporting and adjudication process. We are told there is or will be an internal investigation into their conduct.
The vote of no confidence comes on the heels of two federal complaints filed by a coalition of students and faculty and a set of lawsuits filed by Gloria Allred. It is the next step in our personal fight for a better campus, but part of a nationwide movement involving dozens of campuses across the country.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Last week the U.S. Congress made headlines when it quickly adjusted the sequester cuts that affected air traffic control. How quickly? Parts of it were hand-written (via The Daily Show):
The move was interpreted as one meant to a certain class of voters, but it was also as a purely self-interested move, since Congress members fly quite frequently.
Riffing on this, Bloomberg Businessweek put together a short video about a little-known congressional perk: free and convenient parking at Reagan National Airport.
This little perk, saving congress members time and $22-a-day parking fees, is a great example of the way that privilege translates into being “above society.” The more power, connections, and money you have, the more likely you are to be able to break both the legal and social contract with impunity. Sometimes this just means getting away with breaking the law (e.g., the fact that, compared to the crimes of the poor and working classes, we do relatively little to identify and prosecute so-called “white collar” criminals and tend to give them lighter or suspended sentences when we do). But these perks are also often above board; they’re built into the system. And who builds the system again?
In other words, some of the richest people in the world get free parking at the airport because they’re the ones making the rules. I like this as a concrete example, but be assured that there is a whole universe of such rules and, like this sudden revelation about free parking, most of them go entirely unnoticed by most of us most of the time.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
This vintage ad for a cockroach racing game is a great reminder that what seems normal isn’t necessarily natural or inevitable. Most Americans today would grimace at the idea of playing with cockroaches, as the insect is held up as an icon of filth and disease. But sometime in the ’40s, someone at the International Mutoscope Reel Company thought this was a good idea! Or, then again, maybe times haven’t changed so much; the company went bankrupt in 1949.
From Weird Universe.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.