A Fraternity And A Sorority At Ucla Were Suspended In 2015

Decent Essays
A fraternity and a sorority at UCLA were suspended in 2015 for throwing a “Kanye Western” themed party in which the students were accused of wearing blackface as part of their costumes. Obviously, there is a zero-tolerance policy to those kinds of antics at a university, however, it only shows that today’s culture is far from distancing itself from one of the oldest and most severe forms of racism. Blackface minstrelsy was one of the first American forms of entertainment and it provided a lens through which white America began to view black America in a harmful way. Decades later, hip hop emerged as a way to express resentment towards social oppression, it gave black people a sense of identity and culture through music. Although hip hop…show more content…
These two groups put on costumes to essentially play the role of rappers in order to create a persona that amuses audiences. The problem with this is that they are in fact participating in the demoralization of black hip hop artists and black people in general by mocking the basic part of their human identity. However, John Leland, an author and interviewee from Blacking Up, may disagree when he comments, “Even minstrelsy at its worst contains good elements…A kind of admiration” (Blacking Up 53:40). Sure, blackface pioneer Al Jolson may have shown a desire and curiosity to discover another race’s way of life, however, there is no reason to go about it through the caricature of blacks. Granted, Jolson and other white rappers may have highlighted black music as a way to popularize the culture, but this still ignores the fact that white people have set themselves on a pedestal just to mock a race that they felt was inferior which significantly set back the black community in terms of social development. On the other hand, Brett Gelman of Crack’d Owt defends, “I don’t think what we’re doing is racist at all” (Blacking Up 45:50). Sure, Crack’d Owt’s comedy act isn’t intentionally racist as their main purpose is to humor crowds and make money, but the two members still participate in racial prejudice against African Americans because the personas that they adopt only perpetuate the negative stereotypes of the black culture—as if
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