The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority on the campus of UCLA have recently had their organizations activities suspended after a “Kanye Western” themed party went horribly wrong. Photographs depict attendees making a mockery of African American culture by wearing black face, baggy clothes, gold chains and wearing large, fake butts.
Once photos of the event began surfacing on social media, hundreds of UCLA students protested in solidarity and demanded that the schools chancellor, Gene Block respond to the incident. Students chanted, “Black Bruins Matter” and held signs reading, “My culture is not your costume”.
“It’s one thing to suggest you are actually focusing on one celebrity who is African American, it’s another thing to take it as a license to perform every attribute, every stereotype, every grotesque minstrelsy that you see”, said Jerry Kang, vice chancellor for UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
The LA Times obtained a statement from Kelsee Thomas, a member of the black student union via Facebook, “Everyone keep in mind that simply because I go to one of the top ranked institutions in the country, doesn’t mean I’m any farther away from ignorance and racism as anyone else. They just hide it behind frat/sorority themes, anonymous postings, and micro-aggressions.”
UCLA is said to be undergoing an investigation regarding the racial and discriminatory nature of the party.
The fraternity’s spokesman, Beaux Carriere, released the following statement, “Building diverse and inclusive communities is core to our identity as an organization, and we have zero tolerance for racist behavior. Sigma Phi Epsilon will continue to work with the university and UCLA community to investigate these claims and hold students accountable for any inappropriate behavior.”