As an alumnus of UCSD and veteran of the 1969 student strike over the University’s policies toward minority students, I found this week’s report of a UCSD fraternity off-campus party called the “Compton Cook-out” particularly disturbing. The party was a mock-down of ghetto culture – in the middle of Black History Month.
And then the report of the student group Koala’s campus video program promoting that event, with the use of derogatory racist language, plus a hand-written sign that was discovered with the words “Compton Lynching,” were equally disturbing.
A lot of other people found these incidents disturbing as well. There was a campus march led by Black students – who only make up 1% of the student body – and an emotional show-down with the chancellor. The NAACP has condemned the incidents as have Sacramento legislators.
There have calls for a crack-down on the fraternity – which claims that the party event was not a sanctioned event – and a disbanding of the Koala group, and more controls on the student video system.
In the midst of all this, a Black rapper who goes by the handle, Jiggaboo Jones, has made a YouTube vid claiming he was responsible for the “Compton Cook-out” and it was not a racist event at all.
Jones claims the party was his CD-release party. Just having fun, he said.
Whatever Jones’ motivation, racism is still alive at UCSD and elsewhere in San Diego despite the disclaimers. Check out the public comments to the SignOnSanDiego article about the incident today. The Koala group’s response was real. The sign was real.
There will be a teach-in up at UCSD next Wednesday, February 24. Until then, there’s a whole lot of soul-searching going on.
In a national environment where Americans just elected the first Black President but where there is an openly racist movement nation-wide for the first time in decades in response to that election, jokes about ghetto culture, just having fun, this is just what college students do, so get over it – and other disarming attitudes floating about, we cannot allow something like this to be brushed under the rug.
When one of our bloggers who is African-American can recall fifty years ago not being served at an Arizona restaurant because he is Black, we have to sit up and take notice when there are acts and incidents with strong overtones of racism right under our noses and in our neighborhood. We will keep track of any new developments.