Racist or Not? Arizona State University Students Wear Black Face to Football Game
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World.
Arizona, a state that is regularly accused of having a serious issue
with people of color, received another stain to its reputation. This
week, four white female students at Arizona State University showed up
to a football gamewearing black face. The school asked students to wear
all-black attire to celebrate the new uniforms in their game against
the Missouri Tigers. This is when a few students took it too far.
The game was televised on ESPN, so the entire world saw the action go
down both on and off the field. Thousands of people have expressed
their anger at the students for their insensitivity. But while many
were outraged, some found no reason to be offended.
One has to laugh at the irony that a school with students showing up
to a game in black face also happens to be highly dependent upon African
Americans to run and jump, thus bringing millions to the university in
revenue each year. The idea of black men working up a sweat for white
folks in the stands wearing black face is beyond disturbing.
We also cannot forget that Arizona received national attention for
being the only state that would not support the Martin Luther King
holiday, and also for some of the most Draconian immigration laws in
the country. Arizona State University made news itself for refusing to give an honorary degree
to the nation’s first black president, even though they’d given a slew
of these degrees out in the past. Apparently, they don’t think that
being the first black president in American history is all that big of a
One thing we know about racism is that much of it is learned. We
also know that young people must also learn racial sensitivity. In both
cases, Arizona State University appears to have failed the test.
Students are a reflection of those who teach them, and it’s interesting
that these four white women made the plan to wear black face, went out
and bought the makeup, told their friends about their plan, put on the
makeup and went to the game, without anyone even taking a second to
realize that what they were doing would be incredibly offensive to
millions of people.
That, my friends, is what happens when young people are not educated.
Arizona State University should be embarrassed for this behavior. But
given the racially-disgusting behavior of university officials in the
past, they are probably quite proud.
Dr.Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.