Richard Gonzales, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 4, 2005
Recent news reports of high school and college kids wearing blackface, throwing “ghetto” parties or celebrating “Thug Day” expose young hearts of darkness. Youths should challenge social prejudices, but some embrace racial caricatures with the enthusiasm of a pep rally.
How sad that one college official dismissed complaints by saying that students didn’t know any better.
Ah, but didn’t parents and teachers know better? If so, shouldn’t they have taught their brilliant children that mocking other cultures is insulting and reminiscent of Jim Crow and minstrel shows?
When several students at the University of Chicago in October held a “Straight-Thuggin Ghetto Party” in a dormitory, some minority students were offended. Chicago news media swarmed the campus, wanting to know how racial ridicule thrived at such a prestigious school.
In October at Stetson University in Florida, an all-white female softball team wore basketball jerseys, corn-row hair and fake gold teeth and painted their faces black to imitate their school’s basketball team. University officials said that they didn’t tolerate such behavior but decided against punishing the students. They explained that the students didn’t understand the historical significance of blackface.
Again, treating this as an act of ignorance instead of racially motivated bias, the university required the students to attend diversity training. This included viewing a documentary about stereotypes and reading a novel about racism.
In October at Highland Park High School in Dallas County, students held their annual senior “Thug Day.” Students wore Afro wigs, fake gold teeth, bandanas and baggy jeans. On “Fiesta Day,” meant to celebrate Hispanic culture, a student brought a leaf blower to school. No students were punished for the mockery. Some were told to remove the bandanas and gold necklaces.
Parents, teach your children well — lest they grow up with hearts of darkness.