A University of Michigan fraternity is in hot water after sponsoring a WorldstarHipHop–themed party. Now, a fraternity member turned the blame towards blacks for overreacting to the party’s racially insensitive invite and expressed disappointment that the students are making it about race.
The situation was sparked by frat Theta Xi’s “World Star Hip Hop Presents: Hood Ratchet Thursday ” event where on the Facebook invite, it was encouraged that “bad b-tches, white girls, basketball players, thugs and gangsters” attend the party. Now removed, the invite featured a lineup of twerking white women as a cover photo and the curious phrase of “Hood IDs will be checked at the door” among other terms.
An opinion response from senior Michigan student Erin Fischer in the Michigan Daily, who found the invite “hurtful,” highlighted comments from black students who were also offended.
Theta Xi’s Allen Wu and creator of the invite responded with an opinion piece that black students at the predominately white university were making a big fuss over nothing and that they meant no offense.
From Wu’s opinion piece in the Michigan Daily:
Of course, I’m aware of hip-hop’s roots in African-American culture, and I understand why so many are upset at my usage of the words “ratchet,” “twerking,” etc. But let me be clear: in no way was it my intention to appropriate Black culture. I was attempting to emulate the distasteful party culture of hip hop, not as a synonym for Black culture, but rather as the musical genre that is consumed by all races.
I wish that we lived in an age where we as people could collectively celebrate the music that we consume without aggravating racial sensitivities. It pains me to see that “hip-hop parties” are immediately cast under a racial lens, even if not so intended. Just because we celebrate and enjoy the music and terminology used by predominantly Black hip-hop artists, that does not mean we are attempting to appropriate Black culture.
Wu goes to great lengths to suggest terms like “twerking,” “ratchet,” and “swag” are the property of Hip-Hop culture and not necessarily black people, adding that the terminology dominates the culture thus it’s part of the lexicon.
Although Wu apologizes several times within his opinion piece, it appears he’s failed in understanding how offensive the party and the invite truly were simply by dismissing the hurt as a misunderstanding.
Several students filed a complaint against Theta Xi, and the school has launched an investigation. Naturally, the party has been cancelled.
Hit the jump to see the full-size version of the invite photo.
Photo: FaceBook, Michigan Daily