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Here we go again. For whatever reason, people seem to think that wearing blackface is acceptable, and regardless of how many stories we post proving otherwise, the instances continue to occur.

In this latest episode, two members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, painted themselves black for a “rock stars and rappers” party over the weekend, then posted the photo on Instagram.

Before long, the flick made its way to the Facebook page of the NAACP-UF chapter, and unleashed an online debate, with over 145 comments arguing for and against wearing blackface.

“It’s not a stupid joke when you consider the historical meaning of blackface in our society,” wrote on person. “Do you know how/why blackface came into fruition? How could anybody who understands the meaning behind it still be proud to use that symbol today? It’s the bigger principle.”

Meanwhile others didn’t get why it was such a big deal. “Blacks are still playing the victim card. GET OVER IT. You watched [the film] White Chicks and thouht [sic] it was great. theres [sic] no ‘bigger’ view.”

The students, and woman in the photo have not been identified in the press, but  the person who took the photo was named on Facebook.

Ethan McMahon, president of Beta Theat Pi, wasn’t happy with the two members’ decision to paint themselves black. “As an organization, we pride ourselves on the considerable diversity of our membership and are disappointed in the poor judgment and actions of two of our members.

“While their actions were not intended with any malice or ill will to any members of our community, clearly they were offensive, and we accept full responsibility accordingly.”

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes, also apologized for the students’ behavior.“We recognize that what they did is hurtful and perpetuates racist stereotypes of African-Americans,” she said. “We work very hard to create a welcoming environment for all of our students regardless of race or ethnic background.”

The campus’ National Pan-Hellenic Council has promised to review the photo, and officials will also hold a town hall meeting Thursday (Nov. 1) to address the incident.


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