Sunday, December 03, 2006

NAACP Anti-Racism Campaign

The NAACP's Youth/College division is launching an anti-racism campaign on college campuses. Good for them, if they're planning to expose cases of racism, urge education, and criticize racists. But let's hope they don't plan to urge censorship of offensive speech. The Johns Hopkins case (see FIRE here) is particularly troubling for punishing a student for actions that don't even come close to illegal harassment.

NAACP Condemns Recent Acts of Racism on Collegiate

Recent Incidents of Students in 'Blackface' Arise in
Texas and Maryland

EURweb - November 28, 2006

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People condemns recent events on university campuses
that have exposed the problem of continuing racism at
higher learning institutions across the country.

Students at Texas A&M University, University of Texas
at Austin, and John Hopkins University have recently
participated in behavior that is degrading and
offensive to students of color.

The behavior is reminiscent of similar incidents at
Auburn University, Stetson University, the University
of Mississippi and Oklahoma State University in the
past five years. The Association is calling on
universities across the country to adopt a zero
tolerance policy towards students that participate in
racially charged behavior or speech on campus.

"All students, regardless of their race or ethnic
background, should be able to study and learn in
environments that are free from racial attack," said
Stefanie L. Brown, National Director of the NAACP Youth
and College Division. "These recent incidents highlight
the need to end campus racism, preserve affirmative
action policies in higher education and desegregated
public schools. A lack of diversity in the classroom
can lead to a lack of diverse ideas on campus and poor
socialization skills leading to inappropriate

Last week a videotape was released on the Internet
website YouTube, which highlighted three Texas A & M
students portraying slave-to-master relationships while
wearing blackface make-up. All three students have
since resigned from the university, and one student
issued an apology.

At the University of Texas at Austin, students
participated in annual event known as the "ghetto
party" where they wore blackface make up and portrayed
stereotypical African American behavior. Images from
the event surfaced on the popular collegiate website
known as "The Facebook," where students can post and
make comments about pictures. Students from University
of Texas at Austin and Texas A & M University posted
comments and jokes showing their acceptance of the
photos including the usage of traditionally racist

The Sigma Chi fraternity at the Johns Hopkins
University hosted a party called "Halloween in the
Hood" that drew complaints and was found to be racially
hostile. African American students also voiced concerns
about a skeleton hung from the ceiling that many felt
was a symbol of lynching. The fraternity has been
suspended and students responsible for the party have
issued apologies.

"The time has come for universities to take a stand
against any racist activities," said Dallas S. Jones,
Southwestern Region Youth and College Field Director,
which encompasses Texas. "Since these incidents have
occurred the NAACP has received reports of similar
racist conduct on these campuses. This is simply
unacceptable in the twenty-first century."

"We will launch investigations into these incidents now
because students on these campuses feel this type of
behavior has gone on far too long," Brown added.

In response to recent events the NAACP Youth and
College Division will introduce the Campaign to End
Campus Racism. The program will be designed to provide
students with a mechanism to report and address racist
actions by other students while working with university
administrators to develop policies that will discourage
racist behaviors. The NAACP will kick-off the campaign
in early 2007.

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