OPINION | Barry Richard: Society Says White Chicks Can’t Be Black Guys for Halloween
I warned you this was going to happen.
Wheaton College, in rural Norton, Massachusetts has punished itss women's soccer team because a white team member dressed as a black man for a campus Halloween party last weekend. The team, accused of trying to "cover up" the incident once a photo of the woman appeared on Snapchat, has been banned from competing in the NEWNAC collegiate tournament this weekend.
College President Denis Hanno issued a statement on the matter;
"A Wheaton College student chose to wear blackface as part of a racist and offensive Halloween costume, and the incident raises difficult issues for all of us."
More than 50 students gathered outside Hanno's office this week demanding that action be taken. President Hanno proclaimed that something must be done to prevent future incidents from occurring on campus.
The Black Student Association has issued a list of demands asking for the students involved to be removed from extracurricular activities and campus employment. They are also demanding the school increase diversity among employees and enforce "racial systemic oppression awareness" throughout the schools curriculum.
Lets get a few a things into perspective as we struggle to regain our sanity. The woman did not dress in blackface. Amos and Andy wore blackface. Al Jolson wore blackface to belt out the song "Mammy" when Vaudeville showed little respect or concern for race. The woman dressed up as a black character from a 2004 film, "White Chicks," which featured black men dressing up as white women. Do you recall any outrage over that? Me neither!
The woman wore a cleverly devised and convincing costume to the party that included a bald wig and some copper toned makeup to darken her already deeply tanned skin. There was no shoe polish involved here. She was not dressed as a drug dealer or a pimp or any other stereotypical black caricature that should generate controversy.
Students white and black are outraged anyway because we live in the age out outrage. 21 year old student Kiana Taylor tells The Sun Chronicle;
"It's crazy how people on this campus have been saying, 'you're overreacting' or 'You're being over-dramatic, it's just a costume."
Taylor says the incident has had a profound impact on some students;
"There are people in that room crying. Hurting. She should not be allowed to walk around campus right now. Why is she holding her head up high when we're walking around here like we did something wrong? As people of color we're the ones left to deal with this."
18 year old Student Candice Appiah says students were warned about wearing offensive costumes;
"After all that, she still painted her face and went outside and thought it was funny. It was an act of arrogance and ignorance. As students of color, particularly black students, it shows us we're not safe on campus."
White Chicks was released by Sony Pictures in 2004;
About White Chicks
From the director of Scary Movie comes WHITE CHICKS, a gender-bending, gut-busting comedy starring funnymen Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans. What happens when two fumbling FBI agents disguise themselves as mega-rich princesses to infiltrate high society? Snap! It's frantic antics and nonstop hilarity as the brothers go from hapless G-men to haute couture G-strings...with attitude! Groovin' tunes, hardcore jams and a sidesplitting disco dance-off with the bluebloods fuel outrageous laughs from start to finish in WHITE CHICKS - two brothers just keepin' it real. Sort of.
Wikipedia says the following about the film White Chicks;
White Chicks is a 2004 American comedy film directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, who wrote and produced alongside his brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans. Distributed by Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures, Shawn and Marlon Wayans portray two African American male FBI agents who disguise themselves as two white women. The film was released in the United States on June 23, 2004. It has a 15% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and grossed $113.1 million worldwide against a budget of $37 million.
The film earned a profit of more than $76 million dollars with hardly a whimper.
The woman should have known that her costume choice would cause an uproar and should have gone as something less controversial, although these days it's hard to imagine a costume that would not offend someone.
The students who overreacted to the incident need a lesson in life and perhaps in history as well. Whoever taught these snowflakes to be so sensitive and easily offended ought to be ashamed of themselves. President Hanno is a creepy coward who needs to grow a pair and not live in fear of bad press.
College once was place where young people went to learn to reason and think and to push the envelope of free speech and expression. Today, it's the land of the snowflake. Anyone who dares to offend the cupcake is castigated and cast out of the protected society. What a shame.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Research: Sun Chronicle, Wikipedia, WCVB, FOX 25 Boston, The Boston Globe, WHDH