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It’s very simple

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Kevin Hampton - Gazette Times - Corvallis Oregon

Kevin Hampton is a sports writer for the Corvallis Gazette Times. His latest blog post is titled, “Out with the blackout?“. In the post, Kevin states that “the people complaining know very well that there is no connection to racism.” Ummm, nope. I think they know very well that there is a connection to racism. (see blackface and something called “historical context“).

See Kevin’s post and my inner monologue after the cut…

There’s been some grumbling about the OSU student section’s blackout during a recent home football game. The students were supposed to wear black to the game to support the Beavers. Some of the students painted their bodies black and some added afro wigs. I can see where the wigs might be a sticking point with some people. Although I have no doubt that nothing racist was intended, it probably was a tad over the line. I don’t see the problem with wearing black paint while wearing black and no one else should, either. The people complaining know very well that there is no connection to racism. Wearing the home team colors whether it’s by paint or clothes is a common way to show support at a football game.

At Oregon State, the home team wears black. It’s as simple as that.

It has been a while since I did an inner monologue…let’s see if I can add a few comments to the code in Kevin’s post:

There’s been some grumbling about the OSU student section’s blackout during a recent home football game.

Grumbling – one of many words used by white folks to dismiss commentary by people of color.

The students were supposed to wear black to the game to support the Beavers.

A mostly white student body felt compelled by the front page photograph of blackface on the Daily Barometer.

Some of the students painted their bodies black and some added afro wigs. I can see where the wigs might be a sticking point with some people.

Yes, the wigs…the wigs are the only thing you could see as a sticking point. Please see reference to blackface and oh…historical context.

Although I have no doubt that nothing racist was intended, it probably was a tad over the line.

Well, I guess it was not racist since nothing racist was intended, who cares about the impact, and what “line” are you talking about?

I don’t see the problem with wearing black paint while wearing black and no one else should, either.

You betcha, a white dude sees no problem so it really should not be grumbled about by people of color either. PS: Please google blackface and read a little. Thanks.

The people complaining know very well that there is no connection to racism.

Sweet lord. “No connection”! White people painting their face black. Yes, Kevin, there’s a connection.

Wearing the home team colors whether it’s by paint or clothes is a common way to show support at a football game.

Yes, but painting your face purple, orange, blue, green, etc. is not the same as painting your face black (see white people painting face black, it’s called “blackface.”).

At Oregon State, the home team wears black. It’s as simple as that.

It is not simple and I think that it is too bad that a white writer for the GT deemed it necessary to dismiss the views of people of color.

Written by Eric Stoller

October 28th, 2007 at 10:20 pm

  • Dennis

    In the voice of Kevin Hampton: But…but….but…. but since they (and I) didn’t MEAN to be racist, there’s no way we could actually BE racist!

    I am getting really, really sick of that excuse.

  • http://africaatlast.blogspot.com Jen

    I love wiki’s blurb in reference to the issue of blackface on university campuses: “possibly innocent, but definitely insensitive.” That seems like a very reasonable place to start when reaching across the oceans of difference on this issue – can’t everyone agree with that much?

  • Kevin Hampton

    A couple of thoughts:
    1. Yes, the wigs are a sticking point. They were inappropriate.
    2. I am fully away of the racist connotations of black face. But there’s a big difference between painting your body black (along with wearing black clothes) and going to a football game where the home team’s color is black and wearing “black face.”
    I say you get the differences, you just don’t want to admit they exist.
    3. The problem is a few people stepped over a line. That doesn’t make a few hundred students racist.
    4. As for me being a “white dude,” that hardly makes my opinion (or anyone else’s) less valuable. Frankly, looking at your picture, I could throw similar logic back at you.
    5. Thanks for reading.
    Kevin

  • Kevin Hampton

    Oops. Didn’t self-edit. No. 2 should read I’m fully aware …

  • http://ericstoller.com/blog/ Eric Stoller

    Kevin – I need to sleep, but before I do, are you representing the GT? I noticed that your email was from the GT’s parent company, Lee Enterprises Inc…?

    My thoughts on your thoughts (it’s sort of like a round)

    1) I agree, coupling black face paint and wigs was very bad. I’m curious, why do you feel that the wigs were inappropriate?

    2) I agree that the intent of the students at the game was not to perpetuate racist archetypes. However, the historical connections to white folks in blackface was still present, regardless of intent.

    3) The Facebook page for the Reser Blackout is full of racist remarks.

    4) Very true. I am a white guy with facial hair and I sometimes wear my spectacles. However, how many times have white dudes ignored people of color when racism is involved? It’s a lot easier to dismiss or ignore something when it is not part of your daily lived experience.

  • http://www.zuky.net Kai

    Eric, you rock. It’s kinda warm-and-fuzzy-inducing to watch anti-racist white folks like you call out less-informed people like Kevin Hampton, since obviously such folks usually dismiss analysis and critique coming from people of color. Trust me, we’re used to it.

    I’ve gotten to the point with this type of redundant discourse where I just repeat by rote a set of anti-racist axioms in response to the equivalent set of mindless excuses used to rationalize and justify white racism. In this case, a common one, Anti-racist Axiom #3: The presence of societal racism is determined by not by inner intent but by societal context and outcome.

    (Okay I admit I don’t have a fully developed set of anti-racist axioms, but it sounded good, right? And the truth is that white people cannot possibly understand how many times we’ve had these exact conversations…it’s incredibly tiresome.)

  • Laura

    Wait… isn’t it only blackface when you’re trying to dress as a black person? In that context, the kids who wore afros were totally offensive, because they were engaging in blackface. But the people who just painted their faces black weren’t doing that. They were just showing school spirit.

  • O State Alumni

    Honestly, quit whining. It isn’t racist at all with no racist intent, despite you claiming it is.

    There is 0% racism in painting your face black to support your team. Afro wigs was a stupid idea, but even that was 99% probable of being done with no racist intent, it was most likely just done in ignorance.

    The only person who needs to catch a clue here is you, and the minority of people who are making an issue out of this.

  • http://www.zuky.net Kai

    O Whining State Alumni and other teary-eyed racists whose historical ignorance makes you think you’re safely protected by your social-circle womb when in fact you’re just making a public spectacle of your own stupidity; honestly why don’t you just bust out your white hood and burning cross at this point? Seriously it won’t offend anyone if your intent is pure, which you have already established it is! (Admittedly, if my skin looked like as pasty as yours does hangin from them ghostly bones, I might be belligerently depressed and frustrated too, so I’m sorry about your misfortue.) Yeah School Spirit!! Hang them nooses, wear them afro wigs, dance that two-step, lift that beer bong! Woohoo, go pasty people!

    ;-)

  • Dennis

    Kai, that is fantastic. Especially those last couple of lines.

    =)

  • http://oregonstate.edu/~sugiem/blog/ Luke

    I hate to break it to everyone, but black is NOT an official school color of OSU, see my unpublished and censored Barometer column at my blog. The school’s official color is orange, and only orange, with black AND white as compliments for the football team. Various other colors are used as well. Why is it that a whiteout was never suggested? Nothing scarier than a sea of pasty white faces staring back at me during a football game. Maybe with some white hoods. And a torch?

  • LAR

    I’d like to add a little moral philosophy analysis to this discussion. It cannot possibly be the case that immorality depends wholly or mostly on the intent of the agent doing the act. In fact, without the harmful effects on those who suffer the consequences of the acts, there would be no ethics. Ethics is about unnnecessary harm suffered and what determines this is the experience of the one harmed. Most of us, who stop to think about it, have experienced real harm, not intended by someone but caused by their actions nonetheless. If intent was required, there would be no penalties for people injured or killed by drunk drivers. The harm is real whether the agent intends it or not. Philip Hallie has a fabulous article called “The Evil That Men Think and Do” and it is about how we err when we focus on the intent of the wrong doer rather than the suffering of those harmed.

  • Bill

    Wow…. I have to admit some people are WAY to sensitive. The kids were not wearing blackface, look it up. In blackface, one highlights around the mouth with white or red paint or makeup to give the exageration of large lips. None of the kids were ever reported to have done this. ANd the afro wig was offensive? I have lots of friends who have afros, including Jewish friends (who refer to it as a JewFro), and some white kids with really knappy hair. That would be like saying the black student who attempted to kick a field goal at halftime while wearing an orange afro wig was making fun of Irish kids… Give me a break. The one right ABSOLUTELY NO ONE HAS is the right to not be offended. They were having fun and had no ill intention of what they were doing. If one was to live their life worrying about offending people, they wouldn’t be able to do anything. Personally, I’m offended that people eat ketchup. That has got to be the most worthless condiment out there, but I don’t think people should quit eating it just because of me….

  • FinanceBuzz

    I am pleased that Kevin Hampton stood up to this hypersensitivity that is attempting to further sterilize our existence out of some irrational expectation that people are offended by things that only appear ist on the peripheral surface.

    The thing that occurred to me reading how attending a football game in school colors is racism, etc. is that this is the battle I want to see the people fight who seemingly find racism/sexism/etc. under sofas, behind doors, and everywhere else they look. People may not pay much attention when you attack an obscure television show on an obscure network. However, when you start finding racism in a cherished pastime like college football (or sports in general) when there simply is none there (possibly the wigs of some individuals notwithstanding), people will hopefully consider what is being said (like in Eric’s focus on the blackout game) and realize just how divorced a lot of the people with these viewpoints are from reality. Hopefully, this will spillover into not giving as much credence and influence to people who seemingly want to find some type of -ism in almost everything they observe. So I say, fight on Eric. Go after OSU’s blackout. FYI, UGA hosted a blackout last weekend against Auburn so maybe you want to go after them (though I would be torn as to whether to be amused to watch UGA get attacked or begrudgingly support my arch-rival against such frivolous complaints as those y’all here on the ESB are leveling against OSU.)

  • Jess

    There is simply no racism in the cherished pastime of college football?

    Wow.

    It can be so depressing to live in the sea of ignorance that is the mid-Willamette Valley.

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