What I'd like to know is how this got to be a capital offense for an organization. It isn't just the 5 who are in trouble, the whole frat is thrown out. And assuming UT is a state school, there are constitutional problems with their refusing to reinstate the fraternity based on speech content.
Granted, I wouldn't wear blackface for any number of reasons, one being that I'd know it would lead to such trouble, but it is Halloween season, and they were going as specific people who happen to be black, not, apparently, as some grotesque caricature of blackness or minstrelry.
And if a black person went out as Abe Lincoln or another white man, and/or straightened his hair or used skin lightener, would he face explusion from his fraternity?
Michael Jackson would not be able to get into a fraternity, IMHO.
P.C...easy as ABC!
The people at this university really need to grow up!
posted on 10/31/2002 5:17:09 PM PST
I have discussed this very incident with a few people closer to the situation in Knoxville. First the Kappa Sigm house is located close to the Cumberland Avenue, known as "The Strip". Many students, including some black student groups meet nearby and take a route that passes by the Kappa Sigma house.
Evidently there have been other altercations before between the Kappa Sigma fraternity and some black student groups. While, I agree that this sounds very innocent, apparently there is more to the situation than the media is reporting. Supposedly, many black students saw the opportunity to drag the Kappa Sigs into a racially motivated arguement that esclated to the use of shouting poorly chosen words describing each others ethnicity. It is still a harsh punishment for the entire fraternity at UT, wshen only 5 members were supposedly involved. Maybe some details will come out soon.
I bet these people taking offense aren't offended by Belafonte's slurs of Powell and Rice.
I, for one, am so damn, yes, DAMN, tired of hearing about all these politically correct groups enforcing their views down everyone's throat. Even though what these frat boys did may not have been in good taste, they are still Amerian citizens and are GUARANTEED a Constitutional right to free speech. Just because they go to a state owned school DOES NOT mean that they give up their Constitutional rights.
When are we going to be true patriots and take our country and right back??!!!!!
posted on 10/31/2002 5:42:56 PM PST
Gess, Austin Powers can make fun of the British, Belgians and Dutch, but we cant joke about the naturaly entertaining Jakson 5... go figure. The fascists have again spoken, they are a superior race and they cannot be made fun of...
posted on 10/31/2002 6:11:35 PM PST
As a Graduate of UT, undergraduate and doctoral, I am offended because there is a multimillion dollar Black Student Union Building that is only for blacks and the SUB for everyone. There would be riots if they spent millions for a white student union building. I am glad it wasn't the Kappa Alphas.
I really have trouble seeing any problem here(?) How would a white person pretend to be a black person without painting his face black? It is a hanging offense for black students to paint themselves white?
I guess it's just a case of the folks with the *real* political power flexing their muscles.
posted on 10/31/2002 6:57:21 PM PST
by The Duke
This is just ludicrous, and a violation of their civil rights.
Certainly the Kappa Sigma national group has the right to suspend its UT chapter. But UT also imposed sanctions, which it said might extend even beyond the suspension. Assuming UT is a state school, isn't this constitutionally problematic? Does the suspension by the national make a difference to this? And would the fact that it's a pre-Halloween event make a difference? (Since Halloween comes but once a year, and costumes are standard for Halloween, wouldn't that make it harder to prove that a hostile environment has resulted?)
If such expression can be punished by a state institution, who has decided that it's impermissible expression specifically for a white person to play a black person? Are other groups off limits? Can a white put on Indian paint? Can a black go as a Viking? Does it make a difference if he's either on his way to a Halloween party or a Cleveland Indians or Minnesota Vikings game? Shouldnt the rules be codified before an institution can punish transgressions?
Naturally, I see that historical factors make blacks more sensitive to this issue. Does it make a difference if the students were costumed as the Jackson 5, and were not some nonspecific or grotesque minstrel spectacle? Would it make a difference if they did a good job with their costumes, and appeared to be fans of the group, rather than Jackson mockers? (For that matter, if a grotesque man in drag offends a vocal feminist, will he be punished, and will all drag artists then have to fear such suits?)
Uh, oh! If it gets out that I dressed up as Willie Horton Halloween 1988 my political career is over. My "Mass. State Prison" Sweatshirt on the back was stenciled "W. Horton", and the prison # was: B4I4QRU4DUK
posted on 10/31/2002 7:54:14 PM PST
Pleae give me a break. All these black wiennies can't take any kind of humour. I guess this is what 50 years of welfare will do for you. Destory any sense of humour.
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