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Arizona State University Students Wear Black Face to a Football Game

by on September 10, 2011

arizona state university students wear black face

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in Action 

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 forrefusing 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 deal.

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.

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35 Comments
  1. You did say Arizona(Mormon Stronghold)State University right? Well there ya go! The suprize is that the Govener did’nt declare that all State employees should wear blackface to show support for the Team? You really have to spend some time in the states Capital city of Phoenix, to get the grist of the pre civil rights era mindset of some of the older closeminded, white supremist, money dominating, policy making, agenda setting, media controling, cult following, but its a dry heat, falling off a flat earth by way of the far right barren fringe Bigots! When you create your own God, and write your own Bible, it only stands to reason that your grasp on reality and you preceptions of truth, would be reprobate and totally bogus! Those three girls who wore black face are mere reflections and assimilations of the region in which they chose to futher their miseducation! Bees are drawn to honey, ducks flock to water, and some of the most radical and insensitive, racially intolerant, Gawd fearing people, populate the great state of Arryonzoonutts! ( Not all people in Arizona are insane! Yet the small number who run things would love to have you believe that they speak for all of Arizona!)

    • D4H permalink

      Marklogan56, I love your comment! I just don’t understand us sometimes. The Lord said, “Vengance is mine” but that doesn’t mean we are “doormat Christians”. We can be the must passive people on the planet. When there is a wrong done to us, it used to be that we gather up, march or speak publicly in some way. With all of the disrespect the President is getting and situations like this arising, people are taking us as jokes. I am going to contact my local chapter of the NAACP, if they’re not busy doing nothing, and see if there is anything brewing. We have gotten our college degrees, our big houses and foreign cars, but enough is enough!! There has to be a breaking point here! I’m not a “political person”, but I take it upon myself to keep up with some current events and political reteric. If anyone hears or finds out anything regarding this, as far as how to contact the school’s dean, president, etc., I would love to know and I will do the same.

    • James Dean permalink

      I would argue that those three are just drunk, sl*tty, spirited, college girls painting their bodies for a football game just like tens of thousands of other college students do around the country every Saturday. Their colors just happen to be black. I doubt they are racist. I doubt they hate African Americans.

    • Adrienne permalink

      marklogan56: Your commentsp rove that you are just as closed minded and bigotted as you accuse us Arizonans of being

  2. ADRIAN HARRIS OF GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY permalink

    HAIL!!! GOD ALMIGHTY!!! HAIL!! COURAGEOUS AND BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE OF THE SEPIA SPECTRUM!!–PARAGRAPH 5-“ONE THING WE KNOW ABOUT RACISM IS THAT MUCH OF IT IS LEARNED.”–A WHITE PREACHER SAID IN WHITECHAPPEL, ENGLAND, IN 1609 TO VIRGINIA BOUND PLANTERS AND ADVENTURERS: QOUTE–“ABRAHAMS POSTERITE”, THE PREACHER SAID, MIXING HIS RACES AND HIS METAPHORS, [MUST] KEEP TO THEMSELVES. THEY MAY NOT MARRY NOR GIVE IN MARRIAGE TO THE HEATHEN, THAT ARE UNCIRCUMCISED…THE BREAKING OF THIS {RULE}, MAY BREAKE OFF THE NECKE OF ALL GOOD SUCCESSE FOR THIS VOYAGE, WHEREAS BY KEEPING THE FEARE OF GOD THE PALNTERS IN SHORT TIME, BY THE BLESSING OF GOD, MAY GROW INTO A NATION FORMIDABLE TO ALL ENEMIES OF CHRIST.”(PAGE 273,274) THIS IS CALLED THE {WHITECHAPPEL RULE} AND THE {BEGINNING OF RACISM ON PLANTET EARTH} TAUGHT BY A MINISTER. AS UNBELIEVABLE AS IT SEEMS NOW THE {PIONEER WHITE MEN AND WOMEN DIDN’T KNOW THAT THEY WERE WHITE}. THERE WAS NO CONCEPTION AND NO NAME FOR WHITENESS. (FROM: BEFORE THE MAYFLOWER A HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICA BY LERONE BENNETT JR., ISBN-978-0-87485-0079.

  3. passion permalink

    if god wanted one race he would of made it that way…

  4. blair permalink

    This is why people hate blacks. Get over yourselves

    • Monique permalink

      WOW thats an Ignorant comment 😦 out of all Ethnicity’s ,whites are dominantly know for EVIL.
      When will the HATERD STOP,Its getting really old

      there are white and black ,Hispanic and black, Spanish and black, half breed babies all ove rthe world. How can you teach them to hate themselves ??????

  5. James Dean permalink

    I attend Arizona State University and I paint my full body yellow, the colors we wear on a normal game day, every single game. I painted my full body black for the game in which we were supposed to wear black. It is not a statement of race or hatred towards African Americans anymore than painting my body yellow is racial toward Asians, or the University of Southern California students painting their bodies red is racial toward Native Americans. If you really want to pick on people for “racially” painting their bodies why don’t you pick on the National Football League’s Redskin fans. Seriously though, their mascot is the Redskins, a direct racial reference. Even all that being said wouldn’t by breaking with the custom I go through every single game be even more racial? I thought the goal was for everyone to be treated equal, consistent, and fair across all levels. I wouldn’t not paint my body for a white out if that was the theme of the game. You can’t be treated equally and be held to different standards at the same time.

  6. brent wood permalink

    This is the most stupidest article i have read. In no way were those girls tryn to depict black people. The theme that night was to wear black and in school spirit they chose to take it to another level and paint there body color. Yea asu may have a history of some questionable judgments in the past but now you’re just fishing for a news. Why mist you be so insecure of your color. Im black and i attend asu and was not offended by that at all. Yea youre always gonna find ppl that dislike ppl for their color but its everewhere and not just in arizona. Ive seen more hatred against whites from black ppl then i dodo from white on blacks. So please stop these negative articles because it looks like the author of this article has an agenda to make news out of nothing and its pretty pathetic.

  7. anthony permalink

    I’m sorry, did anyone ask why the girls wore black face paint? – what was the issue?

    “Arizona, a state that is regularly accused of having a serious issue with people of color, received another stain to its reputation.”

    I didn’t realize that we are and had… I know we have an issue with illegals though that most of the rest of country doesn’t seem to understand.

  8. Adrienne permalink

    I was present at that game and saw the “black faces”. It never crossed my mind to think that anything racial was involved. this was a game to introduce the new black uniforms and was called a “blackout”. Anyone who was offended by that is way to sensitive and needs to get a life! As for Arizona being a racist state, that’s a bunch of bunk! In reference to the SB 1070 law; I have read it and there is NO reference to any particular race or creed in it. It refers to people here illegally from ANY country. Arizona’s economy suffers greatly because of illegal immigration and we are simply trying to get a handle on. It costs us millions of dollars every year in healthcare, education and incarceration. Anyone who comes to our state LEGALLY is more than welcome. As for refusing Obama an honorary degree…all honorary degrees are just a bunch of propaganda. ALL degrees should be earned, not given to someone just because they’re famous!! Until, you’ve actually spent time here and seen our problems firsthand you have no right to judge us!!1

  9. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a
    famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

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