UF Frat Boys in Blackface for Halloween Cause Campus Controversy
Some Halloween parties at the University of Florida this year ended up looking like 1800s minstrel show, as white frat boys and a member of the team's softball team decided it would totally be a good idea to dress up in blackface.
The incidents have lead to a lot of controversy, town hall meetings, and formal apologies.
The first incident occurred at a "Rockers and Rappers" theme costume party over the weekend held by the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Two members came dressed up in tank tops, gold chains, sagging paints ... and total blackface.
The campus chapter of the NAACP posted the photos on their Facebook page and wrote, "Who's party this is is not the issue but the fact that this is seen as acceptable is where the problem lies!"
The incident follows one from last year when a member of UF's softball team and some of her friends decided to go as members of UF's football team, but not apparently not just any members, but black members. The group also used full black make up for their costumes.
"What we're talking about is not so much whether people can do this ... but what message it sends and what kind of community we want to have," Katheryn Russell-Brown, a UF law professor and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations, told the Gainesville Sun.
The Beta Theta Pi fraternity, both on the campus and national levels, has issued an apology.
"At no point in time were we ever trying to negatively portray African-American stereotypes," the members in question said in a statement. "We have since learned about the history of 'blackface' and fully understand how our actions were insulting to the African-American community."
A town hall meeting will be held tonight to discuss the incident, with UF President Bernie Machen adding, "I personally believe that demeaning any race is intolerable and completely counter to the welcoming and inclusive environment that UF has created for its broadly diverse campus community."
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