USC’s Black House Proposal Raises Questions About Racial Tensions

Jerome Campbell and Jason Song, Los Angeles Times, March 31, 2015

When some USC student government leaders voiced support for creating a cultural house for black students, Ama Amoafo-Yeboah thought that she and other undergraduates were closer to having a space where they could hang out and hold events.

But before a vote was held, word spread that the house could be located on the Row, USC’s two-block stretch of fraternities and sororities near 28th and Figueroa streets. Social media lit up.

“Why would they open a prison on the Row?” one user asked on Yik Yak, a popular social media app that allows anonymous comments from users within a 1.5-mile radius.

Student leaders passed a resolution on the house in late October. But Amoafo-Yeboah said the onslaught reinforced her sense that black students aren’t always welcome at USC. That feeling of exclusion, she said, is especially obvious on the Row, the heart of the undergraduate social scene–which seems to be made of mostly white students, along with some Asians and a smattering of other minorities.

“The fact is, they don’t want people like us,” Amoafo-Yeboah said. “They just don’t.”

Rini Sampath, USC’s student body president-elect, said she was disheartened by the online comments, even if it wasn’t clear that a student wrote them. “It showed that there’s a mindset about this school that we have to eradicate,” she said. “It showed me that we need a space where students who feel like they’re marginalized feel comfortable.”


Two years ago, USC students held protests after police wearing protective gear broke up an off-campus party and arrested six people. Most of the partygoers were black, and some accused the police of racial profiling.

And in 2012, security was increased on campus after a Halloween party shooting, in which a black man fired into a crowd and injured four. Some black students said they felt less welcome at social events after the incident, even though the gunman was not a student.

“While USC is probably as inclusive as any predominantly white campus, beneath that surface is an ongoing tension and very real issues of race,” said Melina Abdullah, who graduated from the university in 2002, taught there in 2008 and is now the chair of Pan-African Studies at Cal State L.A.

Abdullah said that most other schools’ cultural centers are in academic or more residential settings, and that the USC project could be unique if it ends up in the midst of the Trojan party scene.


Student supporters said the proposal, which became known as the Black House, was modeled after programs at schools such as Stanford, Georgetown and Yale universities. It would not be residential, and no alcohol would be allowed inside. Instead, the building is supposed to be a space where students can relax, hold cultural events and display some of the history of African Americans at USC.

The house would not be affiliated with undergraduate black Greek organizations, which are not on the Row. Overall, about 4,200 USC students are fraternity or sorority members. It is unclear how many Greek members are minorities, school officials said.

Of USC’s nearly 19,000 undergraduates, about 720–or 4%–are black, according to the school. {snip}


The Black House’s student organizers are trying to raise up to $8 million within the next several years. Although many see the Row as an ideal location, buying there may not be easy. Most of the properties on the Row are owned by national Greek organizations that may be reluctant to sell real estate in what they consider a prime location.

Amoafo-Yeboah said she was ambivalent about where the building should be, but that the Row would be a powerful statement. “Nobody will be able to ignore us,” she said. “We will be in the heart of the social scene, for better or for worse.”

Others are more wary, saying that putting the Black House there might only raise tensions. “It would be perpetually toxic,” said Levi Powell, a senior who is half black and half Filipino. He helped work on the student government resolution.



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  • RacialRay

    They want to be segregated from us. We want to be segregated from them.

    What’s not to love?

    • John Smith

      They want to be segregated from you on their terms, but don’t want whites to be able to do the same. IOW, what’s ours is ours and what’s yours is also ours.

      • Tylenol Jones

        Exactly right, they want all of the benefits white civilization has to offer without any whites. A welfare state funded by God, apparently.

        • Lt. Greyman, NVA

          White is God?

          • Tylenol Jones

            In a world without whites ‘God’ is some magical force which delivers 65″ HDTVs and Bugattis to any poor oppressed marginalized black person.

  • LexiconD1

    Tell them to take their pick, as ALL the houses around USC are chalk full of blacks.

    • RagnarDanneskjold57

      That’s precisely the problem. I lived on Fraternity Row for three years but I lived in the USC neighborhood for much longer than that. The very first person I met at USC was another incoming student (from a small hamlet in Norway) named Peter. While returning to campus by bus one evening, Peter got off by accident near Martin Luther King Boulevard (where else?) and was shot in the head and killed for his mistake. Over the next two decades, I saw USC students raped and murdered in their apartments, assaulted in their parking garages, and robbed in broad daylight. This was never done by neighborhood Hispanics – a great many of whom actually worked for USC. It was ALWAYS the work of a neighborhood black or a black who’d crawled in from South Central. During the Rodney King riots, the strip mall across the street from ‘SC was set on fire (but not before the liquor store was raided) and the small free health clinic at which I volunteered was totally destroyed (but not before our drug cabinets were looted.) Students soon learned NEVER to go south of Exposition, east of Figueroa, west of Vermont or north of Adams – a VERY small area (which includes the Row and also included – though it’s now gone – the 32nd Street supermarket and University Village.) Blacks were a frighteningly real and ever-present danger – particularly to students who were not from Los Angeles, were unaware of the hellhole of a neighborhood that surrounded the campus, or were not street smart and tough. And naturally to their parents, who were forking over small fortunes in tuition. Of course, USC did all sorts of touchy-feely community work- like giving away free Christmas trees to the area’s poor. (The Latinos took one and always said “thank you.” The blacks grabbed three or four and ran like hell – or cursed the gift givers out for not providing stands along with the trees). They would wander around the campus at night and steal beach cruisers, break into dorms and campus office buildings and steal computers, take cars from the parking structures, and panhandle, panhandle, panhandle EVERYWHERE. The Row was the last island of white civilization (well, semi-civilization, at least. And the nearby Gakusei Kai House WAS Asian) Here, white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids could feel relatively safe to do their stupid hijinks without falling into the hands of lethal predators. If blacks feel unwelcome on the Row, i’s because a long and blood-stained history has taught whites and Asians to be very, very wary of them. A “Cultural House” on the Row for blacks would be little more than a beacon for every thug in South Central – and a legitimate excuse to provide school security officers as to why they are cruising 28th Street at two o’clock in the morning. Despite the unmitigated arrogance of a dolt like Rini Sampath who has the gall to proclaim, “There’s a mindset about this school that “we” (the Marxist “we”, of course) have to eliminate,” and the statement by Amoafo Yeboah that “We will be in the heart of the social scene, for better or for worse,” the introconvertible fact remains that – with blacks – it’s ALWAYS for worse.

      • Spaniard in LA

        It’s been several years since I drove through that area but I do remember hearing stories about black predators. Last I heard is that the neighborhood has been cleansed of blacks.

      • Alden

        I used to go to the 32nd st market once a month for staples cleaning supplies and meat. Prices were about 40 percent less than where I lived
        Of course I always arrived at 8:AM Sunday morning and was out of there by 9.

        The week before school started non stop parties on the row are legendary
        Pepperdine university used to be in the area. Black crime drove it to relocate to Malibu
        Marymount college fled to the mountains USC stayed, charged the highest tuition in S California and it’s students were robbed raped and murdered for decades

        • Spaniard in LA

          Does the surrounding area still have a huge black population?

          • RagnarDanneskjold57

            Depends on the direction you’re going. North of campus has become largely Latino/Central American – Mexican, El Salvadorean, Nicaraguan, Ecuadorean, Guatemalan, Honduran, Costa Rican, folks from Belize – desperately poor with definite cultural differences – but in 10 years of teaching these kids, I honestly never once had a problem with them. They might have bullied each other but they were all pretty respectful to their teachers and reasonably hard-working (especially the girls.). East of campus is a mix but it’s getting safer as it’s getting browner. Ditto the immediate west of campus. South of campus is where the jungle lies. Here’s where MLK Blvd.lies and here (South/South Central/Southwest) is where you want to avoid – unless you want to end up wearing a toe tag in King/Drew or whatever institutional holocaust has replaced that modern-day Bedlam.

      • Earl P. Holt III

        And parents pay $60,000 per year for their kids to be subjected to THAT…???

  • anony

    “The fact is, they don’t want people like us,” Amoafo-Yeboah said. “They just don’t.”

    Oh so right! So leave.

    • John Smith

      She might have a 90 IQ to have realized that.

    • Alden

      Her brother is named mo fa.

      • Earl P. Holt III

        MO-FO !

  • Dave4088

    There goes the neighborhood.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    So the black students who assure us that they oppose racial tension want to locate their house in the heart of the white party scene, in large part, to tweak the white students who they feel view black students unfavorably. The black students are creating the racial tension they claim to abhor. Gee, I wonder why the white students may view them unfavorably.

  • Chip Carver

    I wouldn’t doubt they were put up to this by the Usual Suspects.

  • We found out yesterday on AR that HBCUs are on the rocks. So if they’re that upset about being so marginalized at USC, we all know where they can transfer to.

    Except, as you can find out in the original article, someone involved in this proposal transferred from an HBCU to USC.

  • TomIron361

    “Nobody will be able to ignore us,”
    Well, nobody can argue that. Wherever blacks are, they’re hard to ignore.

    • Susannah

      Indeed, they’re easily the most obtrusive people on the planet.

    • Usually Much Calmer

      Practice, sweetheart. Practice. How do you ignore black people? Same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Start now.

  • John Smith

    If it keeps them away from whites, I’d be for it. That means away from the frats and sororities.

    • Alden

      They refuse to use existing campus buildings They want to locate in the row so they can commit all sorts of hate crime hoaxes which the university will bend over backwards to validate the hoax.

  • Usually Much Calmer

    Eight. Million. Dollars. U.S. Dollars.

  • Kit Ingoldby

    I wonder if any of the blacks supporting this realise that what they want is called ‘apartheid’? Ironic really.

    • Not really. They want their own but they want ours at the same time. The only reason they ever opposed “apartheid” or its functional equivalents is that they didn’t want white people exercising any control over them.

  • Zimriel

    Blacks want their own house on the Row? Hey, why not. Prove that your SAT scores are up to the par of those other fraternities, and I’ll support you in this.

    Literally: separate but equal.

  • Tarczan

    “…after a Halloween party shooting, in which a black man fired into a crowd and injured four. Some black students said they felt less welcome at social events after the incident…”
    This sole incident caused some students to question blacks behavior? Shocking, all he did was shoot a gun into a crowd. It seems no one died.

    • carriewhite64

      And it seems that the important point to take away from this is not that a black man FIRED INTO A CROWD AND INJURED FOUR, but that it made black students feel less welcome.

    • Alden

      See?? Things have improved
      . No one was killed

  • Alden

    Notice the article carefully avoided the murder if 2 foreign Chinese students 2 blocks from campus a few years ago . The Chinese government was outraged and made protests. The local blacks blamed USC for not “warning” the students that living 2 blocks from campus is dangerous which it is.
    USC is just like Columbia, Temple, Yale
    University of Chicago and so many if our greatest universities. Built in safe White neighborhoods destroyed by blacks.

    When Bradley was Mayor USC constantly threatened to move out of Los Angeles entirely abandoning its glorious brick and stone Romanesque campus
    The Rodney King riot was fomented in the big AME black church a few blocks away

  • LHathaway

    What a 1,000 word complete boomerang. The only student group that doesn’t exist, and is not welcome, on any campus of USC, on any campus in California, not even one, is a White student group. There is not one. None of their members or representatives will be bringing up anything at student council meetings, with faculty, or in answer to the student press, or even with each other.

    The article sums it up nicely near the end, “security was increased on campus after a Halloween party shooting, in which a black man fired into a crowd and injured four. Some black students said they felt less welcome at social events after the incident, even though the gunman was not a student”.

    Blacks ‘fire a gun into a crowd on campus’, who is upset about this? African Americans and the school administration. They’re worried that this is one more thing that is unfair to blacks or endanger them.

  • dick

    Do students go to collage for an education any more?

  • Wing-nut.

    Well… If I ever find myself in California(?) needing an education. USC is at the top of the list.

  • Magnum Opus

    “The Black House’s student organizers are trying to raise up to $8 million”. Ongoing, it would have to be wholly subsidized as well. Black students and their parents will not be footing the bill for the endeavor ongoing. As they reek havoc and hyper-dysfunction, guess who will?

  • Alden

    I’d put an R after the K

  • bubo

    “Blacks bring trouble.” An old man said that to me once. A truer statement has never been spoken.

  • InAFreeCountry

    Maybe the dismissive comments were made by blacks so that they could have a stronger victim card?

  • Light from the East

    “The fact is, they don’t want people like us,” Amoafo-Yeboah said. “They just don’t.”

    Why do you think other USC students simply accept you affirmative actions low IQ people in the university? You can’t enter the university without making adequate efforts. People like you only symbolize the unfairness, don’t they?

  • carriewhite64

    And vague threats.

  • Earl P. Holt III

    It will become a “hub” for drug sales, rape, gunfire, and melees…

  • carriewhite64

    What puzzles me about stories like this one is the particular grievance. There is no evidence of illegal racial discrimination here. The black students “feel” marginalized, unwelcome, uncomfortable, excluded, ignored, etc. What exactly are we as a society supposed to do about that? No laws are being broken, just hurt feelings. Sorry, you can legislate some things, but people’s hearts and minds cannot be legislated, and shouldn’t be. It’s amazing that the feelings of black people are given the same importance as the actual harm they do to other races. What about the feelings of those who have lost their lives and property to black violence?

    • Blackfish

      This has been going on for quite a while. In fact, it was the subject of Michelle Robinson’s (poorly written) senior thesis at Princeton. She is now Michelle Obama

    • LHathaway

      well, your statement contradicts itself. You say these feelings don’t count and there is nothing one can do, and then you ask, what about the feelings of those who have (lost love ones) and property to black violence? I do agree with you though. If they can have it both ways, reveling in a kind of quadruple standard, why cannot we? Why can’t our feelings count while theirs don’t? Especially since the only one’s whose feelings are truly being hurt are ours.

      • carriewhite64

        I did not say that feelings don’t count, I said that you cannot legislate feelings. My remark about black violence was intended to convey that those are CRIMES against people, people who also have feelings. But it seems that neither the crimes nor the feelings count in that instance. I could have worded that post better. I knew what I meant, at least haha. I actually caught the part about the feelings of murdered people before I posted, but didn’t change it.

  • evilsandmich

    “The fact is, they don’t want people like us,” Amoafo-Yeboah said. “They just don’t.”

    Rini Sampath, USC’s student body president-elect…

    Because USC students are so bigoted that they could only have a female East Indian as their president? “They” must be a pretty big group that includes many others than whites then.

  • Blackfish

    Will it be named after that famous African American USC alumni O.J. Simpson?

  • Eagle1212

    Blacks complain about whites being racist towards them but blacks are the ones that are racist, whenever a white police officer shoots at a black criminal, the lowlife blacks riot and cause properly damage but don’t do anything whenever a black police officer shoots a white criminal or a black police officer shooting a black criminal, they always blame everything on whitey, they’re the most prejudice people I have ever seen, they don’t do anything productive in their lives besides committing crime and crying racism.

  • ElComadreja

    It will be for worse.

  • Sun

    Power is shifting. Game of Thrones. People don’t understand how the game is played. Depending on the group’s position different arguments are used. I’m not surprised this is the new position.