Party-goers sporting jerseys, bandanas and jewelry became the target of discussion last night, as students unpacked the racial connotation of “ghetto”-themed parties.
Over 70 students flocked to last night’s seminar, “Ghetto Parties and More: Race in the College Party Scene,” a part of the Race Matters Series hosted by the MultiCultural Center. The event addressed the impact of racially themed events such as so-called “ghetto” and “gangsta” parties, as well as the negative connotations associated with such words. Geography graduate student Reginald Archer, who facilitated the event, showcased images pulled from Facebook and YouTube depicting ghetto-themed parties at several universities in order to spur conversation.
Throughout the event, Archer asked the audience to consider at what point supposedly innocent party themes take on a racial dimension.
“Where do you draw the line between something that is funny and [something that is] offensive?” Archer asked.
The discussion opened with an online image of Clemson University students who threw a “gangsta” party in 2005 on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the timing of which they later claimed was coincidental. This, in addition to other incidents nationwide, has incited media controversy, and served as the focal point for the night’s discussion.
Archer also broached the issue of responsibility, inquiring as to who should bear the burden of blame for hosting such potentially offensive events.
“Should universities ban these types of parties if organizations are throwing them?” Archer asked. “Should they be punished if it is a fraternity or sorority throwing these parties?”