Black People : White students' `thuggin' bash offends some blacks on campus

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by oldsoul, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    U. of C. gets rap for theme of party

    White students' `thuggin' bash offends some blacks on campus and school is set to show why
    By Jodi S. Cohen Tribune higher education reporter Published November 2, 2005

    By all accounts, it was a boring party in a University of Chicago dorm, attended by fewer than 20 students who sat around listening to rap music and thinking they dressed the part.
    But the gathering, called a "straight thuggin'" party, has sparked a campuswide debate about race relations on the Hyde Park campus, where about 4 percent of the undergraduate students are black.
    The students at the party last month, none of whom were black, said their clothing--sideways baseball caps, gold chains and pants so low that their underwear showed--was not intended to mimic a particular race. One student wore handcuffs as he lifted a bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag. They listened to rap artists 50 Cent, Nelly and the Notorious B.I.G.
    Yet fallout from the party has led U. of C. president Don Randel and other top administrators to call for an open meeting next week to discuss the campus atmosphere for minority students and staff and to ask faculty members to create programs about issues raised by the party. The president of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference plans to discuss the party's potential ramifications and the university's response at a meeting Thursday.
    The fear, university officials and community members say, is that the party has reinforced the feelings of isolation that some African-American students said they already feel on a campus with relatively few black students. It also could undermine the progress that Randel has made in reaching out to largely poor and minority South Side communities that surround the university.
    "The issues at stake ... are larger than this one distressing episode and raise questions about the campus climate for minority students, faculty and staff," Randel and other administrators wrote in a letter e-mailed to students last week.
    `Ghetto' reference disputed​
    The party's theme, according to the letter, was offensive and "parodied racial stereotypes based on assumptions about economically disadvantaged members of society."
    The Oct. 14 party, also referred to as a "ghetto" party, was held in a four-student suite in May House, a section of the Max Palevsky dorm. It began at about 10:30 p.m. and lasted an hour. Students talked and listened to music. Some drank beer, a violation of university policy.
    The party--but not its theme--was registered with the resident heads of May House. If they had known about the theme, the party would not have been authorized, said Stephen Klass, a university vice president and dean of students.
    The "straight thuggin'" gathering was the second in a series of theme parties at May House. The first party celebrated the '80s. The third, which never was held, would have focused on the '90s, said freshman Natasha Hodnett, one of the students who attended the party.
    Katie Brookoff, one of the hosts, said the term "ghetto" wasn't used to describe the gathering.
    But days before the party, as some freshmen were dressed in costume to take pictures to publicize the event, they stopped sophomore Eve Ewing, the only black student in May House.
    "They said, `We are taking pictures for our ghetto party,'" Ewing said. "At that point, they were using the word ghetto. I don't know at what point the moniker changed. When they initially presented it, they did use that term."
    After hearing about the party, about a half-dozen black students decided to check it out. They arrived too late, but ran into freshman Galen Simmons on their way to the suite. He said he told them that they "would have been the most thuggin' people there," and said he meant it as a compliment.
    "It was meant to say that they had appropriate clothes for the theme of the party," said Simmons, of New York City. He said that "most of us were ignorant about how our comments or actions might be taken," and suggested that the university do a better job of teaching new students about racial tensions on campus and in the community.
    Several black students said they were offended by the party and by pictures that temporarily were posted on a Web site.
    `No bad intentions'​
    "I was just totally flabbergasted," said sophomore Kristiana Colon of Chicago, who graduated from Whitney Young High School in Chicago. "If that is what they think hip-hop looks like or black people look like, that is a serious problem."
    Colon, one of the students who showed up late to the party, also found it offensive that a group of mostly whites would romanticize a "thug" culture.
    Hodnett said "there were no bad intentions at all" and the party was intended to imitate pop culture, not objectify a group of people.
    "In our opinions, be they ignorant or not, everyone thought that it was a cross-culture thing and it was more mocking MTV culture and dressing up in baggy clothes and listening to rap or hip-hop music," said Hodnett, of Palatine. "We are being used as guinea pigs and being used to make a statement about the racial dynamics on campus."
    Klass, the dean of students, would not say whether any students faced disciplinary action, but Brookoff said they hadn't. He said the party has sparked a needed discussion, to be held Tuesday at Hutchinson Commons, about how to improve the campus climate for minorities.
    There are relatively few black students at U. of C. compared to the nearby neighborhoods. Of the 4,667 students enrolled in the undergraduate college this fall, 4 percent, or 192 students, are African-American.
    "The issues here are broader than the party.... The real issue here is what are the conditions that minority students and faculty face on a regular basis," Klass said. "This is a bit of an ah-ha moment. They are saying this is an example of the kinds of things that students of color have to face not just on campus but everywhere."
    Community ties questioned​
    Faculty and residents of Hyde Park also said they wondered whether the party would affect campus-community relations. Randel has led efforts in recent years to improve relations with the South Side community, including opening a second charter school this fall and three more schools in coming years.
    "The young people, if they are venturing out of campus, it is not to any of the communities that they were making fun of. They are not seeing any of the people who they think would be thugs," said Rolisa Tutwyler, who works at the university and lives in Hyde Park.
    Amanda Lewis, a professor of sociology and African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said parties like the one at U. of C. occur when people use cultural symbols and slang terms like "ghetto" and "thuggin'" without understanding the historical and societal significance.
    "Universities have more work to do to make sure students have a realistic understanding of the world we live in," Lewis said.
    Brookoff, who grew up in Memphis and had been a student at U. of C. for less than a month, said she has received a crash course on race relations.
    "I know most of us are learning more about respect and being sensitive to other people," she said. "We want everyone to feel welcome around here."


    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...1020008nov02,1,362105.story?coll=chi-news-hed
     
  2. Akilah

    Akilah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Things that make you go....hmmmmm...

    Very interesting article Brutha Oldsoul.
    Personally, unless the white students
    were done up in black face, I don't feel
    that it was racist or stereotypical .
    The beasty boys, Eminem, Bubba Sparx,
    and other white rappers dress in the exact
    same way and listen to those same artists.
    The article also said that this so-called
    "thuggin' party" was a part of series of
    theme parties which included an 80's party.
    The only part I find offensive is if they did
    in fact consider it to be "ghetto" since we
    all know what "ghetto" is a catch phrase for.

    Peace ~
     
  3. Dual Karnayn

    Dual Karnayn Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    If I were a student there, I'd be offended too.

    It appears that whites have historically ignored the positive and informative parts of the hiphop culture and focused squarely on the negative and degenerate.

    ON PURPOSE.

    One time I thought it had to do with talent and style, and if a negative artist just had more talent and a better style than a more positive one...that's the reason he was more popular.

    But the way so many whites seem to promote Lil John and 50Cent above all the more talented artists like Mos Def and JayZ; this lets me know that they get some sort of kick out of seeing us at our worst.

    This is a conspiracy to destroy our image at all costs.

    They ignore the positive and purposely dwell on the negative so that the image of us being a negative people is ingrained in thier psyche.
    To most of them, we're just thugs and criminals.

    That way, they can justify thier ill treatment of us.

    Like the man said in The Godfather:
    They're animals anyway so let them lose their souls.
     
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