White students cross racial lines with 'gangsta' parties

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CHARLESTON, S.C. - White students at Tarleton State University in Texas hold a party in which they dress in gang gear and drink malt liquor from paper bags. A white Clemson University student attends a bash in blackface over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. A fraternity at Johns Hopkins University invites partygoers to wear "bling bling" grills, or shiny metal caps on their teeth.

Clemson University student Raniece McDonald (left) talks about the insensitivity shown during a party that mocked black people, during a community forum Tuesday in Anderson, S.C.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Clemson University student Raniece McDonald (left) talks about the insensitivity shown during a party that mocked black people, during a community forum Tuesday in Anderson, S.C.

"Gangsta" theme parties thrown by whites are drawing the ire of college officials and heated complaints from black and white students who say the antics conjure the worst racial stereotypes.

University officials, the NAACP and others have condemned the parties as insulting and inexcusable under any circumstances. At the same time, some black academics said they are not surprised, given the popularity of rap music among inner-city blacks and well-to-do suburban whites alike.

The white students, they said, were mimicking the kind of outlaw posturing that blacks engage in in rap videos. They suggest the white students ended up crossing the same line that says it is OK for blacks to use words considered racial slurs, but not all right for whites to do it.

Whites often don't realize their actions are offensive because they are imitating behavior celebrated in music and seen on TV, said Venise Berry, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Iowa who has researched rap music and popular culture.

"The segment of rap music that is glamorized and popularized by the media is gangsta rap," said Ms. Berry, who is black. "It has become an image that is normalized in our society. That to me explains clearly why they don't see it as wrong."

At an off-campus "Bullets and Bubbly" party thrown by University of Connecticut School of Law students in January, pictures showed students wearing baggy jeans, puffy jackets and holding fake machine guns.

Often such parties go unnoticed outside campuses until students post pictures on Web sites. That's how images of the Clemson party surfaced this week. One student wore blackface; another white student padded her pants to make her rear end look bigger.

Harold Hughes, a black fraternity member at Clemson whose frat brothers attended the party, said white students "see this on MTV and BET; they think it's cool to portray hip hop culture." Mr. Hughes said he found it offensive that the party was held over the Martin Luther King holiday.

Many white Clemson students said they didn't think the party was held to intentionally offend blacks, and organizers later issued an unsigned letter of apology. Still, school officials are investigating, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said the party was not harmless fun.

"We once lynched African-Americans as good fun and humor," said Lonnie Randolph, the president of the South Carolina chapter of the NAACP.

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TAG1313
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TAG1313 02/02/07 - 03:45 pm
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ALLEYCATBLUE You hit the nail

ALLEYCATBLUE You hit the nail on the head! Black people think all white people get along. swedish american, german american, english american, irish american, jewish american, and on and on. Move up north and speak with the southern accent or even better work for a northern company and see what they think of the southern heritage. Ha! discrimination is color blind. The only think the white people agree on is dropping the prefix, yes we are all AMERICANS. My daughter went to a local high school and she said that when it was lunch time in the cafiteria the white kids would go to one side and the black on the other. Lesson they don't want to be put together. We make them!

intheknow
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intheknow 02/02/07 - 04:09 pm
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Its safe to say that whatever

Its safe to say that whatever race you are daemon99, that you are not one of the educated. " Its nice to know that there are a few educated black people out bthere ". If it was not for the Church going part of me I would tell you where to stick that comment.

KingJames
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KingJames 02/02/07 - 04:11 pm
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ABIGALE13, there is a

ABIGALE13, there is a difference between identifying with your own and segregation. You are bordering on bringing back "separate, but equal" policies that were immeasurably inbalacned. Kids should come together in school because when they are in the real world (not the south) they will have to deal with a diverse population of people, and they should know how to have respect for those whom they come in contact. Until they actually feel comfortable talking and eating with people of different ethnicities, they will find it very tough doing business, that is unless they plan to do back breaking work all their lives. A thinking man knows he has to work with people from all over the world in order to do business and make money. Separating yourself means you are dependent upon just those of your race to always have enough money to support your business, or to have the best ideas for business growth and development. If they don't, you lose. The bottom line is that there is one universal color - dollar green. We know whites in those ethnic groups don't always get along, either. But they have all had it easier than blacks. They could always put down blacks to feel better.

firemans mom
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firemans mom 02/02/07 - 04:19 pm
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I just want to say to

I just want to say to truthbetold is that I agree 100% with what you just wrote. How long are we going to all be punished for what happened years ago?? I am Hispanic and I am treated differently and I know there are several of us that are but you don't hear about it.

KingJames
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KingJames 02/02/07 - 04:41 pm
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daemon99, my previous post

daemon99, my previous post was not to say that blacks are not educated, but rather not liberated. We can have as much education as any leading college professor, but if we are afraid to use it, or don't know how, then we are still ignorant. Many blacks complete high school and go on to college, but find it hard to advance in the world because we were programmed generations ago to follow a script for life. We never rise up to any challenge unless we think someone is being bigotted. Then, we pretend to be MLK. He was proactive and marched to make things better. We don't march to make things better anymore. We're reactive, and only march when we think we've been wronged. We still find ourselves doing the same things we were doing before we were educated because we think we won't appear to be black enough. That's where people are wrong. We can still maintain our "blackness" and advance mentally, culturally, spiritually, politically, and economically. People say to give back to the community. Well, that doesn't mean become stuck either. If you give back to the community, it should change for the better. Don't abandon it, but show it how to better itself and prosper.

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 02/02/07 - 04:42 pm
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the truth is that no one

the truth is that no one should be dressing "gangsta" or saying the "N-word" not blacks, whites, mexicans, whoever, yes, its a bad stereotype, but im sorry to say that how can it be racism if its true? there are SOME black people that do go all out with the grills and the baggy clothes, its just sad to see that every black person to be assumed this way, its also sad to read previous comments and still see there is racism in this country, after all the years, and after everything this country has been through

owensjef
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owensjef 02/02/07 - 04:54 pm
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what ever emelia, you can

what ever emelia, you can kiss but if you want too , it will get you nowhere in Augusta (Black Man)

TAG1313
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TAG1313 02/02/07 - 05:13 pm
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If it looks like a duck and

If it looks like a duck and smells like a duck, guess what it's a duck. KingJames it was cool to be born a white male 40 - 50 years ago, but not today the black man has the advantage if he has enough sense to take advantage of it. The black community would do well listening to Bill Cosby. You are what you represent. Look at college football the players look like they came from a prison and most of them act like they did.. Look at the NFL 8 players arrested on Cinn team this year. The malay in Miami this year.Michael Vick justure voting Atlanta number one with his middle finger. But don't you dare form an opinion.

Space Prophet
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Space Prophet 02/02/07 - 05:43 pm
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i think that we should stop

i think that we should stop debating on this, what these kids were doing is wrong, its wrong for white people and black people, but c'mon, this isnt going to be the last time we hear about something like this, unless someone really takes a stand to stop it

owensjef
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owensjef 02/02/07 - 05:44 pm
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Abigale you are truly

Abigale you are truly ignorant, Idon't know where to begin so I won't start but you are one dumb @#$E$#%$%#.

ForHim
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ForHim 02/02/07 - 05:48 pm
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All this gangsta, rap, kill

All this gangsta, rap, kill yo mama, rape yo sista, shoot the cops stuff that the hip hop culture listens to (black, white, yellow, and red) is deadly. When something goes in your head, it has to come out somewhere. Most likely it's going to come out in a criminal way. Anybody (black, white, yellow and red) that is caught up in all that gangsta attitude crap should just shut the heck up and roll with the punches. If they want to be so doggone tough, then SUCK IT UP, BABY. SUCK IT UP!!! (In the famous words of Winona Ryder)

owensjef
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owensjef 02/02/07 - 05:50 pm
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You think Bill Cosby was the

You think Bill Cosby was the first black person to say somthing like that, that shows your ignorance

KingJames
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KingJames 02/02/07 - 05:56 pm
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ABIGALE13, you act as if

ABIGALE13, you act as if blacks are the only ones doing crazy things. All those movie stars who get married and stay together for only 8 or 9 months, models who are starving or purging themselves, and young starlets who are always partying and boozing it up on TV, are they suppose to represent good behavior? No, I don't think so. All of the examples you have given along with the ones I've described are evidence of kids who've had too much attention paid to them because of something that they could do when they were growing up. They now think the world revolves around them. What you are describing is totally off subject and not racial, nor sterotypical of a race. It is sterotypical of spoiled brats. They are exactly what they represent. I will say it again - they are spoiled brats. What you don't recognize is that Cosby and I are saying the same thing. You are taking athletes and making more of them than what ought to be. LeBron James said it best when the NBA decided on a dress code. To paraphrase, he said he was going to work dressed like he had a job. Players don't represent an entire race of people, so don't characterize many based on a few.

Curmudgeon
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Curmudgeon 02/03/07 - 12:08 am
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Wow, this one has been going

Wow, this one has been going for two days! It seems to me that the way in which this particular gangsta party crossed the line was connecting it with MLK Day, and some appearing in 'Black face." In those two actions, they made the party a racial thing, and made the gangsta thing a black thing. I think perhaps the black students who left got uncomfortable. A gangsta party for MLK? He would have done like Jesus chasing the moneylenders from the temple.

blackambiance79
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blackambiance79 02/03/07 - 06:31 am
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There's enough blame to go

There's enough blame to go around on both sides (black and white). It's sad to say in retrospect how little we as a nation have advanced conerning race relations... The opinions and views of many of the posts reflect that. Whether the party was conducted out of ignorance or flattery or 'harmless fun', it was wrong. For many of us blacks who portray that gangsta image, it is wrong. For those whites who assume that image represents Black America, it's wrong. For us together as a nation to view things such as this as minor... it will continue to build up until something major happens... It's in the nature of people to generalize and we must guard against that... People really don't think about their actions until after the fact.... Young people, white or black, need to think of the consequences of their actions even though what they feel they are doing is 'harmless fun.'

TAG1313
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TAG1313 02/03/07 - 07:37 am
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owensfet, I read some of your

owensfet, I read some of your stuff above and you think I'm a dumb ***, you need to look in the mirror to see what one looks like. And we wonder why we have a problem with this topic.I bet you ware your hat sideways.

intheknow
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intheknow 02/03/07 - 09:26 am
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You are right, all of us

You are right, all of us black males wear our hats sidways, its a black thing. Yeah, right.

pja5529
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pja5529 02/03/07 - 11:43 am
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The big problem with the

The big problem with the party is that it was used to put blacks in a stereotype. Most of us blacks are not gangsters who sag their pants and sit around drinking all day with nothing else better to do. It's nothing more than a negative stereotype and those who believe it is just showing their ignorance.

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