Since whites are the majority, they feel as though this is their country (house) and they can do whatever (within the parameters of the law, of course) they damn well please. Many of them possess the notion that minorities are just renters or tenants– they have no ownership in this great country built by white men – Commenter
Quite a few white people have a very peculiar if not offensive way of defining “fun” in college. “Fun” apparently means having racially-charged theme parties.
Just recently, there was a “ghetto-themed party” at UCSD held by Pi Kappa Alpha.
The invitation to their “Compton Cookout”, which happened this past weekend is below:
A few members of different fraternities on our campus collectively put together a “celebration” of Black History Month with this party:
February marks a very important month in American society. No, i’m not referring to Valentines day or Presidents day. I’m talking about Black History month. As a time to celebrate and in hopes of showing respect, the Regents community cordially invites you to its very first Compton Cookout.
For guys: I expect all males to be rockin Jersey’s, stuntin’ up in ya White T (XXXL smallest size acceptable), anything FUBU, Ecko, Rockawear, High/low top Jordans or Dunks, Chains, Jorts, stunner shades, 59 50 hats, Tats, etc.
For girls: For those of you who are unfamiliar with ghetto chicks-Ghetto chicks usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes – they consider Baby Phat to be high class and expensive couture. They also have short, nappy hair, and usually wear cheap weave, usually in bad colors, such as purple or bright red.
They look and act similar to Shenaynay, and speak very loudly, while rolling their neck, and waving their finger in your face. Ghetto chicks have a very limited vocabulary, and attempt to make up for it, by forming new words, such as “constipulated”, or simply cursing persistently, or using other types of vulgarities, and making noises, such as “hmmg!”, or smacking their lips, and making other angry noises,grunts, and faces.
The objective is for all you lovely ladies to look, act, and essentially take on these “respectable” qualities throughout the day.
Several of the regents condos will be teaming up to house this monstrosity, so travel house to house and experience the various elements of life in the ghetto.
We will be serving 40’s, Kegs of Natty, dat Purple Drank- which consists of sugar, water, and the color purple , chicken, coolade, and of course Watermelon. So come one and come all, make ya self before we break ya self, keep strapped, get yo shine on, and join us for a day party to be remembered- or not.
The part that really gets me in the letter is this sneering notion of “respectable qualities,” as if the qualities are something “inside” of black women; that black women have this “ghettoness” sitting dormantly and waiting to be unleashed.
What’s also irking is that these actions associated with black women, i.e. “starting fights and drama, and wearing cheap clothes” is necessarily “black.” Its as if white males or females can’t have gold teeth, don’t start fights and drama, don’t wear cheap clothes, have a high vocabulary, never make up any words, never curse persistently, or never make any other noises.
Some people have commented that Pi Kappa Crappa has held parties like “Euro-trash” party and a “red-necked” theme party and that a big deal wasn’t made about them.
Here is the crucial difference between this party “celebrating” black history month and a “Euro-trash party” or a “red-necked” theme party (neither of which are all that creative or appealing either): All white people are not implicated as part of those groups; all black people are automatically implicated whether they choose to identify with it or not. Not many people will proudly proclaim being Euro-trash or red-neck- that’s an escapable, arbitrary label. Some people will be proud to proclaim being black American and the fact that they come from or made it out of the ghetto, but either way being a black American is less escapable, and less arbitrary.
You can shed the flippant, arbitrary identities of being Euro-trash or red-neck, but you can’t quite shed being the much less flippant, and arbitrary label of being a poor black American, and its associations. People of color joking about being Euro-trash or red-neck is just like the feeling of having your hair cut, that part of whiteness can be you, but it is not a part of your nerves. White people joking about being a person of color is like the feeling of an ear piercing, it doesn’t really hurt or anything, but it does strike some nerves.
The image or public perception that’s put out there about your racial category affects you in that affects the way people come to think about you.
When you’re a white American, you can flippantly identify with your personality, your job, your church, the clubs you are part of, your possessions. When people meet you, unless you’re slovenly dressed or somehow look off or are not American, you’re afforded this blank slate, a fluidity of identity, a withholding of stereotyped judgment till people know who you are. We’ve learned through TV, textbooks, books, radio, that you’re not all the same.
I guess that’s part of the social infrastructure of being white.
However, when you’re a person of color, as much as you try to identify with anything else. When people meet you, even if you’re dressed nicely and actually are American, you’re not afforded a blank slate at all, or this fluidity of identity, or a withholding of stereotyped judgment. We’ve learned through TV, textbooks, books, that were sort of all the same.
Why does this all matter?
Public perception. Which later influences judgment. Judgment that could take place in the workplace, school, other other institutional setting, which allows you to make an income and become productive members of society.
Playing off the party/activity as a “joke”, or “for fun” gives just about any stupid activity, a license to be ignorant if not negligent or even slanderous.
Yes, these events don’t intend to or actually cause anyone direct physical or mental harm. No one is necessarily getting hurt, or getting pain directly from it. However it plays a role in the American public eye implicitly approving the public perception that “ghetto people” or black people should be lumped together, think and behave in easily categorized and very particular ways.
Public perception is quite important to people of color mainly because it can affect the opportunities we get.
Perceptions of people can shine its ugly head later in life when god forbid these UCSD students are actually decisionmakers. A lot of people like to think that they think of people as individuals rather than by the color of their skin.
Agnk, wrong. -1
One study from Princeton showed that white people with exactly similar resumes to people of color were twice more likely to get call-backs rather than their Latino and black counterparts.
Leaving this trend of racial parties out there in the quasi-public eye, knowing that it’s all a joke is negligence just like leaving a bunch of banana peels or roller skates on your stairs for visitors to walk over is negligent.
Taking the metaphor further, sure, people could ignore the skates and banana peels and not trip over them, but it’s just in poor taste to have put it out there and there might be a few people who might not see it and eventually fall over it. Similarly, people could ignore these racist parties and not trip over them, but it’s just in poor taste to have put it out there and people could see these parties and think its OK, even normal to perpetuate stereotypical upon people who fall into certain groups.
The party just shows a distance, an objectification of cultures that these kids don’t know about, and only see from afar.
Objectification leads to ostracization and separation rather than an open-mindedness to accept and connect with other people. This leads to decisionmaking that could potentially exclude a qualified person of color. A Tamika Johnson with the exact similar resume to a Tara Johnson is probably going to lose out because Tamika might be perceived to be this loud, ghetto black woman whereas you can’t really tell that Tara is Eurotrash or white trash, hell she might be black.