The public display of apparent racism that occurred at an Arizona State University (ASU) party for Martin Luther King day got quite a reaction. Mostly condemnation, which was plainly addressed when Anderson Cooper made an ‘on-air’ statement, well, more like a reprimand with a bit of aggravation on the side:
“Now I know you don’t want to believe that something so racist and ignorant could actually happen in 2014,” he said. “Frankly, it would be easier to pretend someone got the story wrong. After all there’s no proof that this happened, right? There is. In fact they posted pictures of the party on Instagram with hash tags like happy MLK day, homies and blackout for MLK!”
“To me it is terrifying, terrifying that these people made it into college without learning anything about what is appropriate human behavior and terrifying they’ve got such an astounding lack of awareness and are so moronic about themselves and the world to actually post pictures of it like it’s the spring semiformal or whatever,” he added.
“Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned toga party,” Cooper questioned, “Scratch that. I would not want to see what this particular group of morons would do if you gave them a bunch of white sheets.”
The students’ actions at the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity party, called “black night”, included partygoers wearing stereotypical hip-hop clothes and posing with hollowed-out watermelon cups. This party and its photos went viral on the Internet.
As one person wrote Wednesday on Twitter: “ASU should revoke acceptance — expel them — for any students who thought it was ok to go to such a party.” The post ended with a hashtag that said: #sicktostomach.
— Jenn Stutler (@JennMacca) January 22, 2014
Although others thought it was their right based on the first amendment of “Free Speech”.
I think the ASU frat has a right to have whatever party they want. FREE SPEECH, not always speech others agree with.
— Keasmom (@Keasmom) January 23, 2014
“This is the United States of America, not the United States of I have a right to never be offended,” another person posted on Facebook. “The students are protected by the right of free speech.” The post went on to say the students’ behavior was “stupid,” but added, “It’s their God given right to do it.”
No matter, ASU officials put the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity on interim suspension Monday after receiving the reports about the party on Sunday with racial overtones and underage drinking.
But obviously that wasn’t enough, because civil rights leaders in the area would prefer to revoke the fraternity altogether, disallowing them to hold meetings on campus or recruit new members.
Dan Pochoda, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona stated, “It does appear it was a conscious attempt to degrade an entire race, and anyone taking part in such action would know it increases the difficulty of students of color to participate in the educational community.”
So whether it was an honest attempt to degrade an entire race seems to be more like opinion than actuality. It is hard to say, but obviously this action caused a major uproar.
Image via NDN