I'm not naive enough to think that racists don't have house parties or that racists don't go to college. Digital cameras and websites have allowed us to examine these phenomena more closely, however.
For this present incident, without technology, this never would have come into public view. It would probably have simmered around campus as a rumor vehemently denied by these people.
One reason this story stands out is that these people were leaders on campus. And leaders of the republican party and conservative movement, two groups that have a tenuous history in recent years with african americans.
I don't think most republicans and conservatives are racist. But I do recognize that there is an undercurrent of sentiment against blacks within these groups. Sometimes, as in the Trent Lott flap, these views surface.
So, here we have a party where outspoken conservative and republican student leaders dress up in blackface and in klan paraphanelia. I don't think everyone who attended this party is a racist, btw. However, if not for the photos, this behavior would have been swept under the rug. And these party goers would have participated in a wall of silence regarding this attrocious behavior.
To me, not only is the klan outfit and blackface offensive and reprehensible; so is the acceptance of this behavior by the people who attended this party. I'm hoping some people were sickened by these turkeys and left in disgust. But according to the pictures of the party, many students stayed and partied with these clowns. (there are many more pictures of this party to be found on the net, btw; most were harmless)
This blackface is supposed to depict a black student leader who was involved in bike theivery. OK, so why paint your face black? The chain, hoodie, and bag suffice to get the point across. He could have worn these only, and had a nice laugh at that student's expense, "Hey I'm so-and-so, the bike thief. HAHAHA." Why make it racial by adding the blackface?
I hope this one speaks for itself.....and I love Yeungling!! Damn!
Here's a picture of Blackface Boy Jason Covener:
An early account of outrage on campus:
Blackface photo on Web riles Black Caucus at Penn State
Friday, December 05, 2003
By Dan Lewerenz, The Associated Press
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Black Caucus demanded that the chairman of the university's College Republicans resign after finding on his personal Web site a photo of a white man in blackface and another with a Ku Klux Klan reference.
Black Caucus President Tiffanie Lewis yesterday said the pictures were inappropriate for the leader of a student organization and urged the resignation of Brian Battaglia, chair of the College Republicans, and anyone else involved in posting the pictures.
"It's not an isolated incident. We believe that it's part of the contentious racial climate at Penn State," Lewis said.
The pictures on Battaglia's Web site were among dozens of pictures from a Halloween party Battaglia hosted at his off-campus home.
One shows a white man in blackface, with the caption: "Apparently Takkeem was released long enough to come to our party. We thank the local police department."
The caption was a reference to Undergraduate Student Government vice president Takkeem Morgan, who paid a fine last month after pleading guilty to a summary charge of criminal mischief regarding a stolen bicycle.
A second photo shows a white man wearing a pillow case as a hood with the caption: "He took a break from cross burning to drink a cold one."
Battaglia, of Brockton, Mass., said he was familiar with the pictures on his Web site, but would not say whether he posted them, nor identify the man in blackface.
He removed the Halloween photos from his Web site yesterday afternoon, shortly after speaking with The Associated Press. But he said last night that he did not remove them because of the Black Caucus' request and that he might post them again.
"The bedrock principals [sic] of the conservative movement generally and the College Republicans in particular, are personal liberty and freedom of expression," Battaglia said in a written statement. "The College Republicans stands ... staunchly opposed to the mindset held by the radical left on college campuses across the country. Their viewpoints, which posit that any action or speech that gives discomfort to a vocal minority should be cause for censorship, persecution, or demands for public apologies, are the greatest threat to liberty in our time."
In an e-mail to Battaglia, Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon called the photos "an embarrassment to the entire university" and said Battaglia and other College Republicans should apologize.
Morgan, a former Black Caucus officer, said he first saw the photos Wednesday night after being told about them by a Black Caucus member.
"My initial reaction was that it was very, very disrespectful," Morgan said. "They were playing with a history that was a very, very tragic one, and it's something that people every day try to get past."
During the spring of 2001, several Black Caucus members were arrested for disrupting Penn State's spring football scrimmage to protest what they felt was a lack of attention paid to death threats mailed and e-mailed to Black Caucus leaders. When university officials scheduled a march to show racial unity, the Black Caucus stole the show, stopping the march and starting a 10-day protest in the student union.
Since then, black students have said the racial climate has improved, but that there still are racial problems at Penn State.
"I think that anybody that's been at Penn State for the last three years knows what the racial situation is here, and they know that it's tense and that every now and then it gets out of hand," Morgan said.
Not only is Battaglia not ashamed of this behavior, which he knows is highly insulting to blacks, he posts this crap proudly on his webpage.
PSU student: No need to apologize for wearing blackface at party
The Associated Press
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - A Penn State University student who wore blackface to impersonate the student body vice president says he has nothing to apologize for.
Jason Covener told Penn State's student newspaper, The Daily Collegian, Thursday that he was the person in blackface in photographs that had been posted on the personal Web site of Brian Battaglia, the chairman of the Penn State College Republicans.
"I dressed up as Takkeem Morgan. I don't really feel compelled, though, to defend or explain how I dress at a private Halloween party," said Covener, a member of the College Republicans.
In a written statement released Thursday night, Battaglia also defended the pictures - although he had removed them from his Web site - saying his organization stands for freedom of speech.
Friday night, Battaglia said he and other members of the College Republicans had received death threats since the controversy over the pictures arose. The police were notified, he said.
But Cathy Carre, treasurer of the College Republicans, told the Collegian that she had resigned her position because she objected to the photos and to a recent Conservative Coming Out Day in which conservative students were urged to reveal their political leanings.
The picture showed Covener in blackface, and the caption identified him as Morgan, vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government, who pleaded guilty last month to a summary charge of criminal mischief relating to a stolen bicycle.
A second photo showed a man wearing a pillow case as a Ku Klux Klan hood with a reference to cross-burning in the caption.
December 5, 2003 11:16 PM
A letter from another conservative student activist regarding the incident:
Letter: Disgrace to conservative movement exists at Penn State 01/03/2004 To the Times: I recently became aware of the current controversy at Penn State regarding College Republicans chairman Brian Battaglia’s Halloween party. Mr. Battaglia rightly asserts that he has the right to post pictures of blackface, KKK costumes, "oversodomized frat pledges," etc., on his personal Web site. No one should take away his right to free speech.
But I would like to use my free speech to say this: Mr. Battaglia is an absolute disgrace to the conservative movement. I am a campus conservative activist just down the road from PSU, and his moronic actions in no way reflect my principles or those of my compatriots.
The Conservatives Club here at Bucknell has fought long and hard for the ideas we believe in, including free speech. I personally resent the fact that someone like Brian Battaglia can be associated with the cause we hold so dear.
It is unfortunate that the Penn State College Republicans could not have found someone better than him to be their leader, and if he refuses to do the right thing and resign, they should remove him.
The mere fact that Mr. Battaglia has a right to do something doesn’t make it any less reprehensible.
And if saying that makes me part of the "leftist plot" he claims exists, then sign me up. There is not room in our movement for people like him, and it’s my free speech to say so.
Bucknell University Conservatives Club
So, not all republicans or conservatives support this loser.