Race-theme partiees (Online Writings)

Why do race-theme matter to the environment, success, and mission of colleges and universities?  What impact might they have?  Why do they continue?  Why are they sites of enjoyment for some and pain for others?  While protecting free speech, how can universities intervene in such incidents

Conversation ended March 31, 2013


41 thoughts on “Race-theme partiees (Online Writings)

  1. Race-themed (parties) matter to colleges because there is a history of them only allowing in certain racial groups (white mostly) and now they are trying to adapt to the new and diverse world (not necessarily by choice for some). When you apply for college some of the forms will ask what your take is on diversity and how you can bring diversity to the table. If colleges have racial discrimination or there is poor treatment or taunting of a racial group at a school, especially wide spread, less people are going to want to come to that university. They will most likely get a bad reputation especially if they are publically funded. They can be damaging to the atmosphere of the student body; it could cause racial tension if students know they are being openly taunted by other students whether intentional or not. One reason they are probably allowed to continue could be because they are not physically harming anyone and if they happen off campus there is not much they can do. Or the school doesn’t really see anything wrong with the race theme so they allow it because its freedom of speech they are allowed to express themselves or wear and act however they want, especially since most are adults. Some people are affected by the race theme and others are not mostly because people are insensitive to others suffering. And then you have those people who either don’t care about the suffering of others or those few who do but partake because they don’t want to feel like an outsider or they don’t want to go against the grain by saying no and standing up for themselves and others. Some people enjoy race theme parties because they have a sick sense of humor and they think dressing up as a stereotype or racist group is funny. There are certain costumes that are ok I guess, but there is definitely such a thing as over kill. Especially when people dress up as specific things such as maids, drug dealers and or yard workers and associate it with a specific race. I personally think people know when they are being offensive, racist and or and disrespectful. They try justifying or rectifying these things in their minds by saying that because others are doing it that makes it ok. The sheep, herd mentality. Some people get the idea that because some historical things happened a “long time ago” that it is now ok to portray them in a mocking way. The fact is with this statement or idea is that it is easy to get over something or be ok with portraying it and opening “old wounds” if neither you nor anyone in your family or related to you has ever had to go through whatever that group went through. The people who are offended are usually the racial group that the theme is modeled after. Sometimes other people who don’t belong to that group are offended as well. The race theme parties more often than not tend to perpetuate stereotypes that lead to miss education or wrong ideas about another group or culture. Universities can mainly only do damage control. They can shut down the party on campus. They can try to tell them they can’t have the party because it’s offensive but then people especially if there are enough complaints. They can try and intervene by possibly creating an environment where these behaviors are socially unacceptable or by teaching the students participating about the culture or racial group they are misrepresenting. These behaviors could actually be considered less serious forms of bullying or hate crimes.

  2. I think that race-theme matters in colleges and universities because there is diversity in most of those schools. There are minority groups and the white Americans. They have a great impact on many people and in many ways. Those students that belong to the minority groups such as African Americans are usually those that are “made fun of” in those theme-parties. I think they continue because the students that are now in college want to kind of relive what their parents or grandparent lived. They make these parties in the way that they see and think things happened many years ago. They feel like it does not matter or offend anyone today just because it happened many years ago even though it really does. They feel like those minority groups they are imitating won’t really care but the truth is that they are offending them and making them feel bad. Like in one of the videos showed in lecture, that they painted their faces brown. For them it’s a simple party to have fun, drink, and have a good time. But many years ago this meant something very different very serious. Most of the times these parties are made by white Americans and made with themes that don’t involve them they always just involve minority groups. There are many ways students in colleges and universities can have fun and enjoy their college experience in many ways. There is no reason for them to have these theme parties that hurt many people while few enjoy them. I think that colleges and universities should not allow them on campus on the fraternities and sororities. I think that schools should definitely be able to intervene in this incidents even if they happen off campus in students apartments. They should be able to do something about it. If a situation was to get out of hand, a university should really think about having the student who was in charge of what happened or group of students. This types of parties need to stop. By allowing these type of parties it is almost if the college of university is allowing those students make fun and make minority groups feel less.

    • How would they punish these students though? They are exercising their freedom of speech and thus disciplinary action is very tough to administrate because of this. Do you think educating the students on racial issues would be more effective in the long run?

  3. I think race themed parties are difficult to analyze because they affect each individual in a variety of different ways. For some people they mean nothing but fun and games, just light-hearted fun on the weekends, but to others they can be extremely hurtful. In the end, the concept of mocking another race is completely disrespectful whether it effects you as an individual or not and I think that is a key point that some students don’t understand. It’s easy for students to say that they didn’t think they were doing anything wrong, and maybe they truly don’t believe they did, but that is when the university should step in.

    I believe that combined with the freshman focus history classes students are required to take, they should also be required to take an ethnic studies class. In this way, students are learning history and learning about the people who were and are affected by different events throughout history. I believe that even a simple change like this will really open people’s eyes to what image they are giving off when they host a race themed party. I don’t believe that there are that many people planning these parties to intentionally be disrespectful, I think it really comes down to the fact that the majority of the population in the United States is undereducated about racism in today’s society. Many people think racism is in the past, the events are in the past and it doesn’t matter now, but that is not the case. Many things that these race themed parties are mocking are very real in the lives of many students around the US.

    This being said, I think it could also be helpful for students who are very affected by race themed parties to come forward and talk about it. I think sometimes when students hear things from their peers they are more likely to understand it then when it’s coming out of a classroom setting.

    Furthermore, I wanted to post a link to an article I saw online today. It’s about models being dressed up in traditional Native American style clothing for what is supposed to be fun photo shoots and runway shows without realizing the deeper meaning to the outfits. I think the fact that large clothing/magazine companies are basically promoting the idea of race themed parties is a huge source of the problem as well and it would help tremendously if their staff became more educated on racial issues in today’s society.


    • Is the question also what they reveal? Also, is the individual impact central but rather how it impacts entire communities? In this sense, does intent matter or does the issue transcend intent?

  4. Race theme parties matter to the environment because it basically portrays the stereotypes of different races whether it’s just a joke or not. It shows a lot of ignorance and stupidity of you ask me, how is it that you throw a party based on a particular race when you barley know about that race? Your just portraying the race based of the things you usually see. And even if it is just a joke your basically making fun of the race showing no remorse. It amazes me that this happens in college because you would expect a more mature audience when your dealing with college students and young adults so for them to show ignorance when there suppose to build intelligence doesn’t make any sense to me. It matters to the success because a lot of people of that race will be offended by the situation and will feel more uncomfortable working and being at school with students you feel that way about them. If you were to have a race theme party about black people and you have things like bandanas, talking loud trying mimicking black females, talk ghetto, just things like that, although you may think that’s a joke to you but the black people its going to hurt and the same with an other race. Nobody likes to be made fun of, even in a small conversation and you bring up something stereotypical, its going to effect them but you want to throw a whole party about it which is going to turn into a very big deal. Things like the race themes also makes the school look bad, as we watched that video in class about party themes you see how what you think is a joke turns into a difficult situation for the school and for the students, you would want people walking around thinking that the school is races so why even entertain race theme parties like that. They continue because we have a lot of ignorant people out there who know nothing about these other races. Universities can intervene by giving harsher penalties for the people who throw the parties just so students can get the message that what your doing is a very big deal.

  5. Throughout history race and racial issues have always been present in American society and have been integrated into public and private institutions, including universities. According to class lecture on March 7th, some of Americas elite universities started to require letters of recommendation and essays for the underlying reason to exclude Jews. It makes sense that race- themed parties happen on college campuses across America because racism has been allowed in institutions like universities in the past and present. However, while the majority of students are white, the population of minority students and clubs has been on the rise creating an issue when race- themed parties gain national attention because they look poorly on the university who “allowed” these parties to happen
    Race- themed parities may be harmless fun to the students throwing the parties, but to the minority group being made fun of they are not fun, but hurtful and embarrassing.The parties that are thrown often focus on the negative stereotypes of the minority being “celebrated” for example fiesta themed parties often have sombreros, ponchos, mustaches, signs that say “I mow lawns for wed and beer”, pregnant women, cleaning ladies, and gang members. These parties are painful to minority groups because these stereotypes should not define a race or a person and when parties are based off of stereotypes people because upset and hurt. These race- themed parties continue because white students continue to seek enjoyment in new ways by having different themed parties even if minority groups on campus become hurt. These parties should be stopped because when they do gain national attention the universities name is tarnished and minority groups on campus feel excluded and not equal to the majority group creating protests and a lack of equality. Universities need to continue to intervene if race- themed parties are ever going to stop. They should take disciplinary actions on groups that support these parties on campus and require students to take a class or classes on race so that every student is educated on the negative side effects of race and racism.

  6. Modern society is not able to adapt or address any race-themed material. This is mostly due to the colorblind mentality that permeates society, which renders individuals unable, to even speak of racially charged issues without feeling as though they are committing social taboo. These events still occur simply because they have been done in the past. This does not justify the continuing of such actions, however, (at least where party themes are concerned) racial associated themes have become so common that doing anything different would be akin to re-inventing the wheel.
    I feel as though “race-themes” in the environment are not deliberately set in place to cause harm or pain. And it is impossible to predict the reactions of everyone who may come in contact with the material. With that being said, I don’t believe that all racial sensitivity should be thrown out the window, because no person should ever feel as though they must regularly face racial adversity.
    It is nearly impossible for the University to impose any type of punishment in the event of a race-themed incident. However, a course of action that is proactive vs reactive would serve to lower the number of incidents. For instance, if during orientation there was a speaker who directly addressed all of the forms that themed-racism material can take, and what makes them unacceptable many students would be deterred from participating in such behavior. I believe that it is not that students are insensitive and meaning to cause harm, instead they are simply oblivious of the big picture in which they are playing a role.

    • I agree with your closing statement. Overall it is more a problem of ignorance than of insensitivity. It is not as if kids are going out with the intention to be racist or to make someone of another race feel uncomfortable, they simply just do not realize the consequences of their own actions. I think the first step is definitely to make students aware of this problem and show them some stories of kids who have been effected negatively. If more students are aware of how these parties actually effect others, I believe it will lead to less incidents in the future.

  7. Race themed parties are not looked deeply enough into by the average college student. The average college student just thinks, “Oh hey here’s a party I can attend and have fun at” and doesn’t give much more though to it after that. That is where the problem starts. We’ve become numb to many minorities feelings and how offensive these parties may be, simply because it is socially acceptable to do so. It’s not as if this is intentional, but it is present nonetheless. If there was a cowboys and indians themed party, you’d be hard pressed to find any person attending that party whose first thoughts had anything to do with the racism that is taking place toward Native American people. It’s just not relevant in the thought process of most college students, which is a shame yes, but that’s just how society has taught everyone to think.

    It’s hard to say why exactly these parties continue, but I’d have to say it has something to do with the overall ignorance of many 18-22 year olds. Ignorance is bliss goes the saying, and if people can avoid thinking about racism, or how these types of parties effect others, it’s as if they don’t effect others at all. Again this goes back to the way society has trained us to be and act, a change must be made. Just because something like a cowboys and indians party may be portrayed as something that was from a time period way before our time, does not mean that it is no longer relevant, especially to the people who are being made fun of at these parties.

    In order for colleges to protect free speech, but also intervene on such occasions where this kind of racism is prevalent, I think the colleges must simply set standards as to what they believe “crossing the line” would be. Possibly making a set of rules saying the do’s and don’t of party themes could be helpful in preventing these situations from happening in the long run. It may not fix every problem regarding these themed parties, but it could be a step in the right direction at the very least.

  8. Race-theme parties effect the environment and success of colleges and universities because there is a lot more diversity in these institutions than there used to be. These parties can create divides and issues between different races and cause a lot of feelings to be hurt as well as a stressful environment for everyone. They can impact individuals by creating an uncomfortable and sometimes even unsafe environment for them to live in. It can affect the success of a university because it can result in students dropping out or not doing well in school when an individual feels unwelcome and the environment is unhealthy. This also can give the university or college a bad reputation which may discourage people from applying there in the future.
    The race-themed parties continue because there are always going to be a group of people at any university or college that throws these parties because they think they are funny and think that since racial segregation, slavery, and other historical events happened a long time ago that its ok to start laughing about it and joking around…which is completely not ok to do ever. They probably also don’t think or care about how they affect other students of different races when they throw these parties and wear costumes that are seen as offensive. These parties also continue because the universities usually don’t step in and address the problem because they don’t see it happening, maybe it happens off campus, or they just choose to stay out of it. These parties can hurt a lot of other people in the community though. The costumes can be taken too far and are completely insensitive to other races. Costumes like drug dealers, the KKK, or using props like nooses, chains, and guns is not appropriate and extremely offensive to a lot of people.
    The universities can intervene by shutting down the party if it’s on campus and explaining to them it’s offensive to other racial groups in the community. If it gets bad enough at a school, the university could make a mandatory class or discussion that teaches the students about how taking part in these parties hurts others in the community, creates a stressful and possibly threatening environment, and misrepresents racial groups.

  9. Race themed parties are becoming more and more a part of colleges as they are becoming more and more diverse. And when schools become more diverse you have races of people meeting other races of people and in some cases the students have never been around this other race of people. I feel like the majority of students have never been invited or even thought of throwing a race themed party like the one we saw in San Diego. While I do see why they occur in the first place. I don’t always think the intention of the these parties is to be racist or make fun of a group of people, in some cases I think it is because since the students have never been exposed to this other race and culture they are fascinated by them. This could lead them to wanting to act or dress up like maybe more of the stereotypical aspects of that race. And when people act upon the stereotypes of others, especially what they consider to be a negative stereotype, they get mad. And if this is happening as a theme to a party it would make them very upset! I feel white’s don’t have the type of stereotypes that can be acted on and seen in a way that would anger whites. While African Americans and others do. Universities can allow parties about race but they need to not be about the stereotypes of the race, but the history and culture of that race. This may not be considered by college students to be a party but there is no real way to have a stereotype party that wouldn’t seem racist.

    • I think that yes, some people could be fascinated by a certain race, however I think that people in the world, especially in a university do know what has gone on in the world surrounding most races. No, they may not have shared an experience with them, but you learn all throughout your life in school about the history of African slaves, Indians, Asians, and other groups that were hated upon and the stereotypes that were given, the hateful nicknames that were given, and for people to dress that way and speak using those words is hurtful. It honestly surprises me how some people claim they are not racist, or say racist things, yet will call any person that cuts them off while driving a fag, or something else. Its what goes on in the real world outside the parties that makes people think theme parties and dressing in a stereotypical way okay.

  10. Race themed parties are an interesting byproduct of college culture. On one hand they are just themed parties that students make with good intention, in order to mix it up a bit, and change the standard party formula. On the other hand however it is essentially impossible to not emphasize a minority, without also emphasizing American cultures stereotypes about it. With this in mind it is found that these parties only ever hurt the feelings of one small group at a time, while providing large scale entertainment and socialization to everyone else. This somewhat aligns with Universities desires of racial integration and building community among a variety of students. However these race parties accomplish this by picking one of many groups and ostracizing them. Peoples of the selected minority are then forced to either turn a blind eye to the blatant insults they encounter (in an effort to assimilate into the culture), or they must be to ones to differentiate themselves by complaining and pointing out the injustice.

    If the majority is going to be happy with these continual insults against certain races only occasionally, then the colleges have no reason to force change. Why should a college enforce a policy that only a small amount of students are against? There is no one shot law that a college can enforce that will simply fix this problem, colleges after all only exist to serve the values and rules generated by their own student population. The best the college can hope to do is create policies and encourage racial fairness. Intervention in these issues involves arguing a point of racial sensitivity and respect to students. In my college experience I have not met a blatantly racist person who would be unwilling to take a step back and think over what they are doing. Most people are reasonable and if pointed out to them that they are being insensitive, they would simply change their course of action. As a last resort college administrations can simply shut down these parties, but I think this would be largely unnecessary if wind of the party was caught in time. Regardless of what they do however it is important that universities keep these situations under control in order to maintain a productive environment for all members of their communities.

  11. Modern society is not able to adapt or address any race-themed material, colleges especially. This is mostly due to the colorblind mentality that permeates the racial education of Generation Z (ages 1-19), which renders individuals unable, to even speak of racially charged issues without feeling as though they are committing social taboo. These events still occur simply because they have been done in the past. Washington State University Mission Statement is being directly affected by the consistency of racial-themed incidents. WSU Mission Statement states, “The primary purpose of the office is to protect the interests, rights and privileges of students, staff and faculty at all levels of university operations and programs.” When students are feeling attacked and feel as though they are in a hostile environment, it would be impossible for all of their rights/privileges to be upheld. This does not justify the continuing of such actions, however, (at least where party themes are concerned) racial associated themes have become so common that doing anything different would be akin to re-inventing the wheel.
    I feel as though “race-themes” in the environment are not deliberately set in place to cause harm or pain. And it is impossible to predict the reactions of everyone who may come in contact with the material. With that being said, I don’t believe that all racial sensitivity should be thrown out the window, because no person should ever feel as though they must regularly face racial adversity.
    It is nearly impossible for the University to impose any type of punishment in the event of a race-themed incident. However, a course of action that is proactive vs reactive would serve to lower the number of incidents. For instance, if during orientation there was a speaker who directly addressed all of the forms that themed-racism material can take, and what makes them unacceptable many students would be deterred from participating in such behavior. I believe that it is not that students are insensitive and meaning to cause harm, instead they are simply oblivious of the big picture in which they are playing a role.

  12. Race-theme parties can have a large impact on the environment, success, and mission of colleges and universities for a variety of reasons. Many college students don’t believe it can have a negative impact by just looking at it as “not harming anyone” to have a race themed party for fun. I think it is both disrespectful and cruel to many people. Race-themed parties often just highlight the stereotype for a specific race. It is unfair to a race to portray it through a few stereotypes, which are often very negative. All it does it create negative images for many people that don’t deserve it. Race-themed parties may be intended just to have a good time, but the negative impacts are very obvious. They have the capability of hurting many people feelings. I believe they continue because people often do not consider what consequences come from portraying a negative stereotype. They can be sights of enjoyment for some, but can also cause pain for others. While the people at the party are just doing it to have fun, there are many ways in which it negatively impacts people. When a certain stereotype is portrayed at a party, people of that race can be very offended. The example given in class was a great example to show the effects of a race-themed party. Although the kids throwing the party may not have meant to create problems, the theme of their party created a lot of controversy. The party was very negative toward African Americans during Black history month, which is extremely disrespectful to many individuals. It is not only negative toward African Americans but it also looks bad on the university. Who wants to go to a school that exploits the negative stereotypes of a race? I think universities have the opportunity to intervene in such incidents by exposing people to the negative effects of stereotypes. Educating students on the negative impacts can cause someone to change their mind about having a race-themed party, mainly because of the negative impacts on that race.

  13. Race-themed parties matter to the environment because they affect everyone around them, whether it’d be directly or indirectly. While those who throw these parties portray race as something that isn’t a big deal, others take offense to it. Instead of making race something that doesn’t pertain to today’s era, these parties are reinforcing the stereotypes and hurting others while doing it. Sometimes, the intention behind race-themed parties is to poke fun at certain races, while not realizing the history behind it. This impacts colleges and universities in a negative way. When word gets out about these race-themed parties, it either goes on without any confrontation or creates extensive tension between students. Consequently, university authorities have to step in and try to resolve the situation. The mission of most colleges revolves around the idea of providing a healthy environment for learning. A school where racial inequalities are creating conflicts and hurting others is definitely not a safe environment, especially for learning. Not only do these parties affect the people within the universities, but they also affect the university as a whole by ruining its reputation. Prospective students are less likely to apply for these colleges because of the fear of being ridiculed or teased because of their race. Subsequently, less applications lead to a smaller number of attendees at that college or university. This can lead to less diversity within the school as well. Unfortunately, these parties continue because students in college enjoy throwing themed parties and race-themed ones just so happen to be one of many themes to choose from. In class, there was an interview where an African American was being accused of throwing a race-themed party. Honestly, the interviewer was making a really big deal about who was throwing the party rather than focusing on the party itself. Race-themed parties should not be an issue of who is throwing them; they shouldn’t even be happening in the first place.

  14. Race-themed parties have a direct effect on the environment, success and mission of universities. If these parties start making headline news like the college from the video we watched in class than that reflects very negatively on the school and student body. Minority students might feel too threatened or outraged to go to a school that has racial problems such as this. Students who do go to school there may also feel these emotions and thus overall success of the student body could be affected negatively by students either dropping out or not feeling safe at school. Most schools have a mission to ensure racial equality between all students that attend that university. If parties such as these are common, then the school is failing to attain this mission. I think everyone would agree that the overall impact on such parties is negative and causes racial inequality and ignorance amongst the students of the school.

    These parties are usually thrown by the racial majority; white students who have never had to experience being racially discriminated and ostracized against, even if it is a joke. These parties continue because people think it is funny to joke and make fun of other racial groups or historical events that are linked to race. While most of these parties are not meant to poke fun at minority groups, they are depicting American stereotypes of these groups which is hurtful and offensive to the minority groups being depicted. Universities can intervene by stressing racial equality and fairness more on campus and making ethnic studies classes a mandatory class for graduation. The more people talk about racial issues and learn about how it is affecting minority groups, the more positive changes we will see. Most importantly, colleges need to get student involved with making a change. Seminars and posters will not change racial attitudes. Students need to come together and make known it is not okay to throw such parties and get people to talk about the racial issues at on their campus.

  15. I believe that when it comes to the issue of race (or sometimes culture) themed parties, there is a line that crosses from inoffensive to offensive. I believe that that line also extremely hard to define and follow, and thus, racial or cultural themed parties should probably just be avoided altogether in the planning of a party.
    A negative or racially insensitive party will offend and hurt students no matter the real intention of the party. This will make it difficult for the students to focus on important things such as their schoolwork as well as place them in an uncomfortable learning and living environment, even if the people throwing the party are none the wiser and didn’t think much of the party in the first place.

    I believe that cultural themed parties can in fact be fun and inoffensive (think margaritas, sombreros, and Mexican music), but as soon as the line is crossed and the party or its attendees become overly racial, or engage in negative racial stereotypes, the party is no longer just harmless fun. The hard part is learning where to draw the line, and because of that, its better to just avoid the issue altogether by not engaging in parties that focus on a race or culture.

    Students and student organizations ideally should be able to police themselves when it comes to this, but to rely simply on the students themselves is unrealistic. There may be times when the university or IFC/Panhellenic needs to step in to resolve an issue that relates to racial themed parties.

  16. Race-theme is a very generic and broad topic. It affects nearly every aspect of life, from the television that we watch, to the everyday choices we make. Race-theme is not necessarily too connected to the environment, for I believe that all races care about the environment and the harm we cause to it. Ecological and recycling matters could result in such cases, with richer, white families having the means to pay for recyclable products, cleaner air, and the reduction of fossil fuels such as driving hybrid cars. Every situation nowadays has to do with money. The wealthier a family is, directly affects the success of the family. Race-theme is important in this situation, for white families are statistically more well off than black families. White families that have the money to put their kids through better schools and learning environments are going to have more educated and therefore, successful offspring. “Black awareness” is a common mission of colleges inside and outside of a college environment. African Americans want to reach out to people of all races to fight for equality and respect, while there is no direct theme that whites look to reach for, other than the importance of health and education. Does this mean that white people don’t care about the black awareness? No. Nowadays everyone seems to want change and an end to racism, but it is hard to forget the past, but at the same time, not educate kids on events that occurred back in the slave days when there was segregation and blatant racism which impacts everyone. Continued research is done on a regular basis for how to end racism and segregation, but naturally we segregate each other. Walking through schools or even down a city road it is apparent that white children at an early age like to associate each other with other white children, while black, Asian and Latino children do the same as well. Many children do enjoy school, again depending on the environment. A private school, with fun recess activities and engaged children could be a more likable place, then an old public school where children barely attend and funds are low. From a University standpoint, college is all about what you make of it. University is not entirely race-themed, although many may associate with other of like-race. Protecting freedom of speech relies on the students to do the right thing and treat others the way they would want to be treated. With it being the 21st century people need to stand up for each other and what is right, therefore leaving there no need to have to protect freedom of speech. People know when they are crossing the line, maturity needs to step in and racism needs to end.

  17. I think one of the main problems with race themed parties along with other “fun” activities is the fact that there is always going to be some people or certain groups of people that are not happy with the festivities or the outcome. It is hard to throw a college party without offending at least one type of person. With that being said, I believe that as a higher education facility, we need to further educate our students on race and stereotyping overall. They also need to recognize that there is a consequence to this action, even if the party throwers aren’t directly affected by it. I believe that having any sort of race or culture based party shouldn’t be widely accepted on college campuses especially because the students don’t typically understand the background or the cultures overall. Having a huge frat party with a race theme but the same overall objective as usual, (like getting drunk, hooking up with someone, dancing, etc.) does not truly embrace what it is to be of that race or culture. Those types of parties are different than when a Native American club decides to throw a culturally based party and includes old customs and whatnot. Big race themed parties impact colleges because they can make people uncomfortable while being there, thus making them leave and therefore the college could be losing their students and even future applicants. It is sad to think that parties are supposed to be solely for the purpose of having fun and enjoying your college years yet there’s people who can be scarred for the rest of their life because of the carelessness of others. Most of us do not have enough knowledge about other races so when white students paint their face black to represent a person of color, not only are they creating an uncomfortable environment during that present time, but they are failing to recognize the somewhat recent history of that. I once took an American Popular Music class where we spent a lot of time learning about how white people would dress in “Black Face” and put on musical shows to entertain whites and make fun of black people. I think it is hard for universities to intervene these incidents while protecting students freedom of speech because many times these parties may not even be held on campus where it remains hard for them to maintain authority. The most I feel we can do is teach the students and educate them more about the effects of racism and hold a certain level of what is considered acceptable and decent.

  18. Race themed parties do matter in the environment of colleges and universities. At any university or college you will probably find diversity of race among the student body. I think that universities put a lot of emphasize on having diversity on campus they ask you what race you are before you are even accepted into the school. Universities do not want to be seen in the public eye as a school that discriminates from white, black, Asian that would be bad for university enrollment. The parties could also bring legal backlash if they are able to continue for colleges, race themes are very easy to go over the line. They can also create an uncomfortable atmosphere for some students after the party takes place. I think that race themed parties continue because students who throw the parties either are not aware of the racial discrimination the theme created or they simply do not care what other people think. This is obviously not true for all race theme parties but that still does not make it right to make fun of an entire race for entertainment of others. Race themed parties are fun for some and horrible for others, this is probably because if you are not apart of the race or have no ties to the race that is the subject of the party you are mostly not going to make a big scene. Most college students will either accept the theme and go to the party or boycott the party. The only way to totally get rid of race themed parties is for the universities to get involved. This can be kind of sticky for the universities to deal with, without breaking the 1st amendment. I think one way universities can discourage race themed parties from happening is to have an event where they so all the side effects of what theme parties have on those subject to the theme. Knowledge is the key to stopping acts of discrimination.

  19. I think that a lot of people don’t think it really matters if they have a race themed party. Personally, today I hear a lot about how people are saying, “oh white people want to be black, that’s why they dress ‘thug’ like, try to wear their jeans low, wear gold chains, du-rags, talk the way they talk, and try to drive big cars and say they live in a messed up neighborhood.” And I do see some people do that. When white people listen to rap music, “black” music, they want to try to act just like them. They watch the music videos and see, oh well if I act this way, ill have peers, ill get money, ill get laid, this and that. They try to achieve in life what is portrayed in those music videos. So, when they theme a party they try to live that life style. What doesn’t end up happening is they don’t really see the meaning behind a lot of those songs. I think there are plenty of people in our class that when we listen to rap and r&b songs before we start, just think hey, I like this song. But don’t really listen to the words, and how they talk about the inequalities, disparities, and hardships that we end up discussing in class. They like the beat and the idea portrayed by society, and society is saying, hey its okay to act this way, and its okay to portray and “make fun” of the past. Its the past, the past is gone, and tomorrow is a new day. What happened back during slavery and hatred towards all races except whites, its all over with. So college students don’t see the hurt they end up causing towards people of those races. Its hard to say how universities can control this. Awareness I think is the best possible solution, and letting students know that the code of conduct isn’t just on campus during hours, but at all times. At all times students represent the university they attend. Some people get fired from their jobs because they did something stupid off the job that they knew they shouldn’t have, and regardless they represent that brand. The same goes for universities, and having that laid out clear and consequences for those actions, can bring in better awareness and possibly lower the amount of hurtful parties.

  20. Race themes are crucial for colleges and universities because race themes promote diversity within the student body. With diversity comes different ways of thinking and ideas; which often leads to new innovation. Race themed parties provide a theme that pays respect to a certain race, and the culture/heritage behind that race. It also gives party-goers a common and known way to relate to others at the party via what they wear, act, eat, drink, ancestry etc. However, the common knowledge of most races is the social stereotypes that are placed on different races. These stereotypes manifest themselves in negative ways, and while they may seem funny or creative at a party, often lead to controversy and offending the race that is supposed to be represented. For example, if a “Hispanic” themed party is thrown, often things you will see are sombreros, ponchos, Hispanic foods and drinks, Hispanic music etc. However, especially in a college environment filled with college aged students, some people take it overboard, thinking that its “no big deal.” However, when news leaks via rumor, pictures or video of the way that the Hispanic community was represented leaks to the Hispanic population of the school, it can be seen as offensive and, on extreme cases, racist. Although this may have brought enjoyment and fun to the attendees of the party at the time, this has the potential to slander and harm the reputation of the Hispanic community. It continues because it simply is labeled as “having a little bit of fun”. Colleges have a hard time dealing with race themed parties because, unfortunately, they have little power in simply telling students that they can’t express themselves, as this is a violation of their rights. However, colleges and universities can inform their respective student bodies on the negative stereotypes placed on races, and how playing into these stereotypes can indeed offend members within a racial group. Classes such as this one, which provide diverse points of views on otherwise common thinking, can help inform the student body of the viewpoints of different races that are present at the university.

    • What evidence do we have that they foster diversity (also, how does ethnicity operate in relationship to culture, as opposed to race)? And in some senses do they promote diversity in parties without promoting diversity amongst student body? How might it lead to exclusion and segregation?

      • While I agree that these parties are not hosted with the intent of fostering racism when college aged students drink, responability often takes a back seat to “what would be funny.” This is evident to anyone who cares to take a walk around college hill on a weekend. So what you end up with is offensive material that may be a joke but is offensive none the less for example at the chi omega party in colorado they were pictured with a sign that read “I don’t cut grass I smoke it.”

  21. Race-theme matters significantly to the mission of colleges and universities. Having an institute being portrayed as “racist” or insensitive to other races and/or cultures only hinders the schools in being appealing to a wider audience of students. Clearly the best example to use here, as presented, is the race-themed parties that occur at colleges. Deeper impacts being pressed upon the student body of the college than intended by the groups organizing such parties and the parties occurring. Continuing on through the ignorance and disregard from the party attendees and organizers. Everyone just wants to have some fun in college even if that fun is reinforcing negative stereotypes and belittling a race by organizing “racist ragers” etc. When it comes to having fun, no one wants to think of the deeper effects it may have on people of that race throughout the campus who hear of the party because all that matters to them is that the party is off the hook. Viewing these events just as another way to get drunk, have fun, party, etc. is how they move by unscathed from major ridicule from minority groups used as the theme and other groups. People with a deeper connection or understanding to the historical roots for some races to racism and other race issues feel those emotions intensified by seeing these race-theme parties. Or seeing those negative stereotypes that belittle or show a strongly poor or negative view of their race makes them feel that anger or pain over such parties. However, when dealing with these issues there is a fine line to be worked around. Of course, it being America, free speech is always a huge deal when it becomes threatened by anything. Yet, these race-themed parties do not need to be present as well. Obviously having them not present is the best solution in the end. Getting to that solution in the best way possible is the major challenge surrounding this issue.
    -Ryan Randall

  22. Race theme parties are taking place on campuses all across the country and there has been an increase in the number being brought to national attention. A Halloween “Mexican themed” party hosted by chi omega sorority seems to be the latest example but is not the only one. Other race themed parties have received national attention as well including a “south of the border party” at Santa Clara University and a Martin Luther King Day party at Tarleton State University. These parties while they may not carry malicious intent from the young partiers can be offensive to some. In reference to the chi omega party Cesar Lopez the Vice President of the college’s Mexican American Student Association said “(we are) disappointed in the attire chosen by this sorority. It in no way represents our culture. Not only have they chosen to stereotype our culture with serapes and sombreros, but the insinuation about drug usage makes this image more offensive.”
    I think these parties continue because themed parties have an appeal to some. By giving a party a theme it stands out from just another night. This in no way is an argument for supporting race themed parties because there are many other available themes that will not offend anyone.
    However in my opinion a distinction must be made between what is morally wrong and what is illegal. Universities do not have a right to intervene in the choice of theme for a party as long as no public funds are being used and no laws are being broken. This is not to say organizations that are represented at these parties eg fraternities and sororities, can’t or shouldn’t disciplining those that choose to this because they should.

  23. It seems as though we will never completely steer from racism. American society has been able to incorporate race into anything from acceptance rates of colleges, jobs, families and even into jokes. Since it is so hard to address the idea of race (colorblind) some students turn to race themed parties. In my opinion race themed parties can be an innocent mistake that many college students make or have made in the past. I believe race themed parties continue because parties are rarely addressed by the university or addressed by a student. As I have learned throughout lecture, many of the students just in our class have not been exposed to very many racial encounters. They have grown up in white communities and have been uneducated about race. Dressing up at a stereotypical race themed party can be seen as fun to the people that have yet to be educated. With that said, I believe that themed racial parties are unacceptable and offensive. There is so much history and culture behind every race and to mock that culture by dressing up in stereotypical attire is disrespectful.
    Race themed parties do matter in the college environment. College has been the most diverse atmosphere that I have ever been exposed to. Universities try to provide opportunities for people of different racial groups to receive an education. The fact that universities ask your race before you are even accepted shows that they take a great deal of time to make college campuses unique. For college students to hold a party that is disrespecting what the university stands or and has tried to build up is not only offensive to individuals but make the university look unqualified. The only way to put an end to race themed parties is to get the university involved. This could either be in a freshmen focus class that incorporates race and culture or better monitoring the parties that are being held on campus.

  24. Race themed matter is important for universities to promote diversity among the institution. Only under the right intentions such as promoting pride in certain races is it okay for people to host events which are race themed. But more often than not, the intentions of people hosting race themed parties and events are in disarray. An example of this happened at Duke University involving Kappa Sigma fraternity. The fraternity sent out an invitation on February 1 with the title” Kappa Sigma Asia Prime,” and used an image depicting a caricature of North Korea’s dictator with the caption ” You had me at hero.” On their Facebook page it showed participants wearing Asian hats, sumo wrestler suits, and traditional Asian attire. This is an example of a group of people who claimed that it was just for fun but instead delivered an offensive and damaging message to those who were Asian or a minority. Despite incidents similar to this, I do believe universities can flourish from having raced themed events if the intention is to promote a more diverse culture on campus and if it is the planner’s intent to educate those who are not familiar with the customs and the heritage of that race.
    For Universities to counter this mindset of it is okay to hold race themed parties even if the intention was for fun, it must start with education. Education has been the key for awareness on prejudice and racial problems among communities across the nation. Creating that awareness in the classroom by having short lectures and discussions I think will help to get people to think before they act on certain matters of race and prejudice. I would also recommend standards and rules but many universities have that in place already and it is impossible to hold students accountable for their actions unless one is physically present in every situation. Which is why the action to stop race themed parties and events must start well before anybody considers planning one.

  25. I think race-theme parties do affect the environment of colleges. This could be seen at UC San Diego with the noose being displayed on campus and race-themed parties (Compton Cookout) obviously having an effect on the social climate of the campus. These events spurred anger and subsequent protest among not just black students, but a good chunk of the entire student body. It is hard to say what kind of impact this has on individuals, because everybody reacts differently to these kinds of things. While some students and faculty might respond with fear, others could simply see these events as chances to think further about what happened and possibly reevaluate their stances on racial issues.

    I think that these kinds of race-theme parties continue not because of direct hatred for another racial group, but more out of a lack of knowledge for how the parties actually affect those people. I think the reason most race-theme events or parties happen is just because the people involved want to have some fun and seem cool. They also probably get some sort of rush out of knowing that what they are doing is somewhat controversial, which could be a contributing factor to why these parties are thrown as well. Until people realize how these parties affect some people in a negative way, they will probably continue to go on.

    I don’t think there should be anything done to stop these parties from happening, because I think it would be going against free speech and I don’t think people rights should be taken away to protect the feelings of others, not matter what context it is in or how hateful it is. What schools can do however is try to educate students more about how the things they say can affect people in harmful ways. Once they do that, then it is up to the students themselves to decide if they want to continue to have race-themed parties or not.

  26. Racism is a topic that will never completely vanish. Due to the history, it’s part of everyone who lives and is a part of this country. That being said, racist theme parties are almost inevitable due to people growing up in different environments of society. What I mean by that is that not everybody is exposed to the same situations. Therefore people generate different opinions even when knowing the history of our society. Some people may believe racism is not of the importance and fragility as it once was, and there are other people that believe it’s more relevant than ever, and of course there are people in the middle of those two extremes. With people developing their own opinions and merging into a University, there are always going to be groups consisting of similar assumptions. Mix that with the perception of college being an opportunity of freedom and expression for young adults, there are going to be actions that offend others. People enjoy acting as someone they’re not and turning our emotional history into a joke is easy for someone when they feel it does not strike a personal note. I’m not making excuses for the action because I strongly disagree with it, but it’s a con of the amendment representing our freedom of speech. Unless it is an organization that is under the University, such as a fraternity or sorority, to my knowledge there is not a lot they can do. The first amendment can be used to protect private parties off of campus because it is a form of speech. I do believe it is of high importance to Universities in order to try and keep these parties from occurring because if they reach the spotlight of the media, then the University can be perceived in a negative way, affecting their future enrollment of students. One of the only ways a University can avoid these types of parties is by striking the guilty with harsh consequences in order to scare people away from the idea. Even by doing this, it falls under the category of colorblindness so it really isn’t being solved, but rather pushed under the rug. Another idea is just by educating kids about the affects of these parties and the deeper meaning behind such actions.

  27. Race –themed parties matter to colleges and universities because in a sense it totally disregards the point of a college education. I personally think that there is so much more to college than just going to get your degree. College is supposed to be a time of personal growth as well. The idea of going to a highly diverse college or university could be the colleges/universities way of trying to implement equality. By having these race-themed parties, it is almost like the students are completely ignoring the ideals and values of the college or university. By ignoring these values, it prevents personal growth, which can lead to failure in the future. These race-themed parties impact negatively on all students. For those who attended the party, it sets an idea that this prejudice behavior is acceptable due to the fact that everyone who attended the party made a joke out of the targeted culture. For those who chose to not attend the party, this could be because the individual either A. finds it wrong to recognize different cultures in a negative light, or B. is highly offended by race-themed parties. For both sides, all it does is create hatred for one another. It creates an uneasy environment that has a sense of discrimination in it. The impact that these parties have on young adults is only negative in that it only forms more discrimination, which defeats the purpose of diversity in the community. The only reason why race-themed parties continue is because first of all, the parties take place somewhere off campus which makes it tough for the university or college to intervene and make things right. They also continue because students continue to attend them, which makes it look like it is ok for them to continue having these parties. Like I said earlier, it would be really tough for colleges and universities to intervene with the off campus parties; however, the university could express their disappointment with the Greek chapter through Panhellenic or the IFC. Those two organizations have the power to ban such parties. Although having those types of parties are forms of free speech, at the end of the day, those students are representing something much larger than themselves. not only are they representing their Greek chapters, they are also representing their school. Those students belong to something bigger, and when people belong to something, there are rules that apply.

  28. Race- themed parties matter to colleges and universities for many reasons. The main one being that most universities that were established before the 70’s may have had prior bias towards certain ethnicity groups. They need to make their universities as accessible and welcoming to everyone as possible because of these past discriminations. For example, Washington State University started out as an all-male all white university. In order to bring in people of different ethnicities and make sure they feel connected with people of all sorts, they established race-themed parties. For the WSU application, they ask you about times of diversity in your life and highly encourage it, which is very welcoming and assuring because it makes applicants feel like WSU truly cares about diversity and finds it valuable. One of the few negatives about race-themed parties is that it does set those students apart from other groups and may even cause racial tension on campus. But in general, it does a really great job of bringing people together. Personally, I get invited to events for the Native American group on campus and they are not exclusive. You’re welcome to bring people of other ethnicities so that they can learn about Native American culture and so forth, so they aren’t all exclusive. The majority of these groups exist for a positive cause; to bring people with similar interests together, not set people apart. Universities typically can get involved by providing funds for promotion so that people know about the groups, but as far as intervening to stop cause problems I don’t know how they would go about that. Like I said these groups exist through the universities (usually) for a good reason, if these groups were behaving negatively or causing tension between other groups, I would hope and assume that the university would pull that party from being funded by the campus. These groups were looked at more offensively many years ago when it was looked at as “separation”. But nowadays people consider these groups to be a great way to make friends with people who generally come from the same background as you, they are often a comfort for underrepresented groups because the possibility of making connections is there. As long as these groups aren’t committing hate crimes and aren’t negatively representing the university, they should have the right to freedom of speech. (obviously). However, if these parties become out of hand or become a potential problem to the institution, the institution should pull the group and not offer funds for them anymore. Or at least a probation period.

  29. Race themed parties are detrimental to college atmosphere and undermine the mission of higher learning and inclusion of all people to the college experience. They continue because they are hidden behind the idea of jokes and humor. The defenses of these parties are that they are a joke and should not be taken seriously. Also that these parties do not reflect the people who attend them, which could not be more incorrect, someone had the idea to start a race themed party and their opinions or ideas of that certain race to create the costumes and have themes. The parties’ fracture and divide a community, which is the exact opposite of the goals, colleges and universities, strive for. Some excuses for these racial themed parties have been a minority student was the one that came up with the idea for the party, whether true or not does not make the party justified. An example is that a minority student in a fraternity may come up with a racial themed party, even though the party may be hurtful to himself and his culture, just to try to fit in. These parties continue unfortunately because they are usually off campus and hard to enforce or punish through university officials, schools that try to crack down on these parties are seen as infringing on people’s free speech rights. I think a way to intervene on such parties is to punish the clubs and organizations that sponsor such parties, by not allowing them to participate in university sponsored events if they continue race themed parties. Finally I think this type of parties continue because they people participating in the parties have not ever had to deal with discrimination or racial prejudice, so they think it is funny, because they can not connect the themes to the painful history and discrimination from which they have been formed. They have never had to experience it or deal with the issues so it’s just funny and a good time to them.

  30. I believe that race themed parties play a big part in colleges and universities because there is diversity in most of these schools. There has been a history of them allowing in certain racial groups, which mostly tend to be white but they are trying to make it more diverse. There are minority groups and white and they tend to have an impact on many people. There are a lot of themed parties that discriminate against African Americans. This continues to happen because of what happened in the past, kids want to do the same thing as what their grandparents and parents might have done back when they were in college. These themed parties are strictly based on what the kids thought used to happen back in the day, including in what their attire was. Kids these days are arrogant and don’t think these themed parties effect anyone because these themes were made up so long ago but in reality these themed parties really do effect the minority but then again the themed parties are difficult to analyze because they affect each individual differently. I believe that these race themed parties need to come to end, like I said earlier, it is very hard to analyze these parties but you shouldn’t have to put a college student through all that discrimination. On campus, race themed parties should not be allowed and if a race themed party were to take place on campus, the person that set it up should be punished for it. Allowing these parties is pretty much telling the students that they can go ahead and pretty much make fun of minority groups, which is not fair to those kids at all.

  31. When looking at race themed parties are college campuses today one if forced to ask the question, why does this happen? It is apparent that these parties are a blatant tool to put racial stereotypes in the spot light which can become very offensive to many people. Often there are party themes associated with struggling economic neighbor hoods that are mainly inhabited by people of color called ghettos. These ghetto parties are often thrown by people who are from the completely opposite background. For these privileged students that throw such parties that are used to offend and discriminate against these low incomes and colored communities it is fun. They throw the parties because for them, a group of people that is not offended by the theme because they haven’t lived that life, simply throw the party and focus on having fun and completely disregarding other students feelings. Other students may not enjoy such parties because they are directly insulting them by racial profiling. Also the idea that college campuses in the United States are allowing such things to happen has an drastic effect on the student that are being offended. One of the jobs on the university is to promote equality, equal opportunity, and respect for the students. When student see the university allow such parties to take place it shows that the responsibilities of the school are being ignored for the sake of the privileged students who are typically throwing these parties. It shows students that the system is not fair and that they cannot trust their school to defend their rights. This hinders the success of the university because it hinders the success of the students. When students are not being supported and feel like the school isn’t providing a safe environment where they can do well and have fail treatment and respect, it drives those student to do worse. They need these things in order to do well and activity participate in their education, without them the students are bound to fail, and that means the school is bound to fail. American universities has a responsibility to stop parties that hurt their students but it is difficult to intervene without infringing upon people’s right of free speech. One way that I believe universities can help such issues is to promote more interconnected social events where groups of different social, cultural, and economic backgrounds can meet and be involved in getting to know each other. The segregation of these groups is what leads to people thinking it is acceptable to throw parties based on racial profiling. If students had more opportunities to interconnect them they would be less likely to throw a party that could potentially insult or upset one of their new acquaintances.

  32. Like a lot of people have said, race themes parties can be taken and perceived in many different ways. I don’t necessarily believe that the people in charge of creating the parties mean to hurt or put others down. To those people it may all just be fun and games, but these parties do initiate stereotypes and racism that offend and hurt others. A lot of people think about racism as being in the past and not being as relevant today as it used to be. To me, this is a prime example that racism is still very relevant today. This all comes down to the specific individual. There may be a handful of people that say it’s not a big deal but there may be a handful of people that say it’s wrong and needs to be stopped. Dressing up as a member of the KKK or drug dealers and painting your skin black is taking it a bit too far.

    Most collages try to embrace and show equality and diversity on campus by accepting all races as well as providing equal opportunities for all races. However racism will still occur and stereotypes will be expressed. When I got to school I thought that sororities, fraternities, clubs, and campus groups pretty much had people of all races and ethnicity and that is the case for most. However, I have learned that there are different sororities, fraternities, clubs, and groups that apply to only some races and aren’t open to all races. This is an example of how there is still racial grouping is still happening. And I’m sure there is still racism and stereotyping on campus. With as many people that live and go to school here unfortunately it’s inevitable.
    The school needs to think about what kind of a message and reputation these parties are giving the university. Maybe the universities responsibility should be to educate the students about other cultures and races and about racism and stereotyping as well as where the line should be drawn to what is appropriate and what is not. People are going to continue to throw the types of parties that they want but by talking to the students, maybe these race theme type parties can be minimized.

  33. In my opinion, race-theme matter to show diversity. Thats the mission of colleges and universities, to have diversity and equality. Race theme matter to the environment, success, and the mission of schools because schools become more diverse every year and race has always been a big issue in our world. The main reason for race-themed is to show the different cultures surrounding us. There are so many things in colleges and universities that make each race feel welcomed. There are a lot of multicultural clubs and help out there for any race. However even though there are many ways to get to know other cultures and interact with others races, that doesn’t stop college parties for having a race theme party. Some people don’t realize the impact some race-themed socials or parties might have towards others. The way some people portray different races can insult others because the way some people might see a culture is not what it really is. For example, a white person dressing up like a black person and painting their bodies to look “black” is offensive and just unethical. However as discussed in class, I also believe college parties aren’t meant to intentionally hurt or offend anyone; to them its just a theme. People continue to do offensive race themed parties because they think it’s entertaining and funny and universities can’t do much to prevent what people do that might offend other races. How to deal with different races is not something everyone is taught while growing up. Universities can inform the students more about different cultures and have classes and events portraying what each culture is about. However I feel like students should be taught in a young age to prevent such incidents from happening and protecting people from getting hurt by seeing how people portray their culture.

  34. Around college campuses one of the most common social events are themed parties. From jersey parties, to PJ parties, to paint parties they are some of the most fun social events on campuses. But when does a theme become discrimitory and racist? Parties like Cowboys and Indians, to Ghetto Parties, to finally even sexist parties such as G.I. Joes and army hoes are just straight out of line and defensive. Not only are you saying it is ok to offend a group of people (that happens to be a minority), you are going supporting and condoning stereotypes about different races. It amazes me that this happens in college because you would expect a more mature audience when your dealing with college students. But because of some of the ignorant, non diverse places people are from they don’t understand how hurtful these parties really are. In my high school in Seattle these types of parties would not have been accepted. Parents need to educate and teach there kids about racial sensitivity and that although to you it may not seem like a big deal, to someone else your offending them as well as their ancestors.

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