Friday, October 06, 2006

Air your grievances here

Everyone is whispering in hushed tones about the 1L "ghetto fabulous" party and the backlash that resulted. Stop whispering. While this blog's official position is one of neutrality, I encourage the rest of you to say what's on your minds.

Facts:
-A costume party themed"ghetto fabulous" was held and attended by 1Ls
-Pictures from the party were posted online, and a link to the pictures was places on the 1L myspace group page. (They have now been taken down)
-Some other students at the law school saw the pictures, were offended, and petitioned the dean to take action
-An e-mail was sent to all law students from the dean condemning the party as having "negative racial overtones" and telling students to "think twice" before engaging in such behavior again.

Feel free to post your thoughts/opinions/etc. Annnnndddd....go.

EDIT (10/14/06): New comments have now been disabled. See above post on this topic if you have questions.

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19 Comments:

At 4:40 PM, October 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I wasn't a student who complained, looking back, it was pretty offensive.

What if there was there a party where all the people dressed like white trash or boat people? Even if didn't fit the stereotype, you would still feel like they were denigrating your entire race by making fun of a stereotypical aspect of it.

 
At 6:34 PM, October 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disclaimer: wasn't there. Saw all the pictures. Obviously we all know what happened.

There's a distinction between satirizing, especially hip-hop culture, which is already self-parodic, and playing on negative stereotypes. (Anyone read that article in the Statesman about whether OU actually exists or it's an Oklahoman conspiracy?) (Ever watch the Chappelle Show?)

That said, law is a professional occupation. There are standards and the mistake wasn't the party itself, but affiliation with the school. The Dean's letter pointed out the potential problems but didn't even hint at a penalty. That's appropriate.

Ultimately, something like this was probably going to happen, and these are probably the best possible circumstances under which it could, because no one's going to make this mistake again. It's been taken care of, and the 1L class will probably end up all the better for it. End of story.

 
At 6:38 PM, October 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on the email Sager sent, I expected something far worse... along the lines of "They hired a black stripper and made her pick cotton from their pants.".

I'm shocked at the overreaction. People really need to just relax.

 
At 8:44 PM, October 06, 2006, Blogger Lawmommy said...

I love the fact the the local posters have all been annonymous

 
At 8:52 PM, October 06, 2006, Anonymous second poster said...

I love the fact the the local posters have all been annonymous

We learn our lessons quick.

 
At 8:40 AM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the entire thing was taken way too seriously. I am a 2L and a woman of color, and I think that you have to be approaching the thing with an already racist mindset to construe it as a racist event. I don't think the students involved were approaching it with that mindset, and that's why they didn't realize it would be offensive.

But, in fairness, I did recently go to a "white trash" party (as the first poster mentioned), so perhaps I'm just as bad.

 
At 9:42 AM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dean Sager needs to find something better to do with his time than scouring the internet, smacking his lips in glee every time he stumbles across a picture of a 1L in a compromising pose.

The real issue here is that some anonymous 1L ratted out his or her fellow students. Frankly, that's a bitch move.

 
At 10:35 AM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha, yall must not have gone to UT undergrad. One of the fraternities, for example, has a party where the seniors dress up like confederate army officers. I think it used to be called the plaintation party.

So yeaahhhh, ghetto fabulous, not really a big deal...

 
At 10:57 AM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real issue here is that some anonymous 1L ratted out his or her fellow students. Frankly, that's a bitch move.

I see. So, if the conduct of the "ratted out" students was so meritorious, why should they care whether the dean or anyone else knew about it?

Leaving aside the question of whether anyone is justifiably offended by political incorrectness, it's utterly naive to have thought that somebody wasn't going to try to spin this out of control.

Race is a third-rail issue, especially at UT (home, after all, to Hopwood). And just because the frat boys have equally tasteless parties doesn't entail that anyone's displaying particularly good judgment by playing off the theme.

 
At 11:56 AM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the party was malicious or intentionally racist, but it was certainly stupid. It's easy, and immature, to say that people should just relax and not worry, not be offended. Well people do get offended and it doesn't take a lot of brain power to realize that. I expect that these 1Ls, when they grow up a little, will realize how insensitive the party theme was. They should be embarrassed.

 
At 1:28 PM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, frat parties with racist overtones/undertones at the University have resulted in the sactioning of said frat by the University.

Second, the reason the party-goers cannot be "punished" by the Administration in this case is because the party was not hosted by a sponsored University organization. It wasn't on the law school's dime or time. Their actions might have been ill-advised, but there's little the Administration can do besides shaking its finger.

Third, while I think the intention of the students in question is very important (and I don't think any of the party attendees had racist intentions), I find the argument that no one thought of the racist undertones such a party could have to be completely unbelievable. You [general you] might not have intended for the party to be "racist," but you if you [general you again] didn't consider the possible racist undertones, you're pretty much a moron.

Fourth, this party was hardly a secret - even to those who weren't invited. I'm a 1L, I wasn't invited. I knew about the party before it happened, and saw the pictures after it happened. Its fairly believable that other members of the law school community stumbled upon the pictures , saw them outside the context of the party (which all participants are claiming was completely innocent), and was offended because of the after-the-fact assumptions that were based on the pictures they saw.

I think the Dean's message was actually pretty tasteful. It reminded everyone that we need to think outside our own box and consider how our actions might affect other members of the law community. And it also reminded us that pictures on the internet are not so anonymous and firms can and do research law students they are interviewing.

I wasn't offended by the theme or the pictures. And I wouldn't have complained. But that doesn't mean that its impossible for others (who are not just being "ratty bitches" or "whiners") to have been legitimately offended.

 
At 2:36 PM, October 07, 2006, Blogger Lily Graypure said...

I find nothing amusing about "ghetto fabulousness," but plenty amusing about people who would complain about it.

 
At 6:47 PM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous second poster, again said...

Can we stop with the comparisons to the frat party incident? The issue that was there is that they had people in black-face paint, among other things.

Claiming that satirizing hip-hop culture is tantamount to negative stereotyping of a certain racial group requires you to assume equivalency between the two (which, if you don't mind me saying so, seems a little bit, like, what's the word -- a stereotype). If you don't recognize the problems that arise from that equivalence, well, you're not qualified to speak on the subject.

 
At 8:46 PM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so word is that some of the "ratter outters" are debating whether they should print out the photos and post them in the law school. This is clearly pure rumor, but still pretty funny. I'd hate to be one of those 1Ls, haha.

 
At 11:22 PM, October 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: posting the pictures

Please tell me you're kidding. What could be a worse way to attempt to mend whatever divide this has created than to have anyone in the pictures be labeled a racist and everyone in the BLSA be labeled a rat. I couldn't think of anything further from the truth on either side.

 
At 11:02 AM, October 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What problems of equivalency are you talking about? Whether the equivalence is right or wrong, people make it.

To say that people associate black people (more than any other ) with hip hop culture is not stereotyping, but a fact observed. To observe that a stereotype exists is not being stereotypical.

That link seems clear to me. If you somehow feel that making that link is in itself wrong: well, excuse me for noticing.

 
At 12:05 PM, October 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1Ls: Just plain stupid.

 
At 2:48 PM, October 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the Dean's email said to think twice, and then think twice again. Which confused me, because I'm not sure if he wants us to think 3 times or 4 times.

 
At 6:22 PM, October 08, 2006, Anonymous second poster * 4 said...

I was talking about equating a party parodying hiphop culture with a frat party where people showed up in blackface, among other things. I think it's a pretty clear distinction.

 

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