Black like you

Categories: Education
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The Strib and others carry reports today about six Hamline University football players who have been suspended for dressing in blackface for Halloween. John Strausbaugh's extremely interesting 2006 book Black Like You, scrutinizes the history and role of blackface in American life. One curious fact that Strausbaugh points out is that the use of blackface has become surprisingly common in the last decade--especially on college campuses.


Indeed a quick Nexis search of the terms "blackface," "controversy" and "college or university" yields 188 stories in the last five years. This Halloween, for instance, four white students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sparked controversy when they painted their faces brown to imitate the Jamaican national bobsled team, while four Colorado College hockey players (including two Minnesotans) were suspended after donning blackface to imitate the characters on "Family Matters." In January students at Clemson University marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by hosting a "Ghetto Fabulous" party featuring white students in blackface swilling 40s and sporting fake teeth grills. In 2005 it was students at Stetson University raising eyebrows when they painted their faces black in imitation of the school's basketball squad.


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