STAFF EDITORIAL: Blackface "slave auction" a disgrace to higher learning

Students’ time at college is supposed to be spent learning – gaining knowledge, socializing and becoming more responsible. Within this experience, students have the opportunity to learn about different cultures, races and religions. Unfortunately for some, this chance is lost.

Louisiana’s Northwestern State University’s Kappa Sigma chapter has proven that no matter how many classes one sits through, some lessons are just too hard to learn.

As reported by Louisiana State University’s paper The Reveille, the fraternity recently held a "slave auction," where women bid on members to be their slave for a day.

Depending on what they were asked to do, this probably isn’t too questionable an occurrence. The kicker? The "slaves" on the auction block were white students wearing blackface.

Were the white students wearing blackface to make their slavery seem "more realistic?" It may be safe to assume that there was no protest at the time in the little town of Natchitoches, La. and some patrons probably appreciated the touch of historical accuracy.

Enslavement of blacks, or anyone, is not to be taken lightly. Even in the 21st century there are still countries where slavery is accepted.

For this type of behavior to come from a group of students of an institution of higher learning offends and initiates disgust on too many levels.

Are these students taught American history? Don’t they know that slavery in America has left a scar on our collective conscious?

Did they think that since they were in the Deep South, no one would mind if they trivialized hundreds of years of murder, rape, families torn apart and the efforts of those who gave their lives to abolish the scourge of slavery?

These are not the actions of serious students who have actually learned something about their world, much less their own state.

These are the actions of a mob of ignorant fools who pander to the lowest common denominator.

This isn’t a case of "live and learn." If these students had spent at least one week in college, they would have known that this was wrong as soon as the idea was presented.

Ted Danson reminded us 15 years ago that blackface gags just aren’t funny – neither is trivializing the blood-stained journey from bondage to freedom.

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