UCLA Frat Throws Kimye Party, Forgets Wearing Blackface Is NOT OKAY

Photo: Gregory Pace/BeImages.
One would think that a college education might clue students in to the fact that using dark makeup to make yourself appear Black is offensive and never okay. Unfortunately, members of UCLA's Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority must have slept through that particular class.

What they lack in cultural sensitivity, these Greek-life devotees make up for in party planning. Together, they hosted a "Kanye Western" shindig inspired by the rap star and his wife, Kim Kardashian. According to student paper The Daily Bruin, party attendees were seen wearing baggy clothes, padded bottoms, plump lips, and, incredibly, charcoal blackface.

Despite the example set by various fashion magazines, Julianne Hough, Al Jolson, and other clueless types, blackface is, of course, outrageously insensitive. As such, much of the UCLA community was outraged by the party, which prompted a protest and an apology from Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Well, it's sort of an apology. Though the fraternity admits to a lapse in judgment, it denies allegations that blackface was involved, claiming instead that the guests in question were dressed as miners in a nod to West's hit, "Gold Digger." We'll let you chew on that one for a while.

Here's the statement posted to the frat's Facebook page.

"On behalf of the UCLA chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, we sincerely apologize for the offense and hurt we caused to our fellow Bruins, especially those in the African American community, by our social event with Alpha Phi Sorority on Tuesday night.

"A Kanye Western-themed party was intended to celebrate pop culture. We realize that the theme showed a lack of judgment on our part and that some of the guests’ costumes were offensive to members of the Bruin community. We want our campus community to know that they can expect better from this fraternity.

"In addition, we have been asked to respond specifically to rumors that some guests attended the event in blackface. It is important that we put this rumor to rest. Some of our guests attended the event dressed as miners in reference to the Kanye West song 'Gold Digger,' but their attire had nothing to do with race. This does not excuse our lack of judgment in not recognizing the inappropriateness of the party theme and that other costumes were offensive.

"We are grateful for the dialogue we have had so far, and we intend to continue communicating with our fellow Bruins about how SigEp and Alpha Phi can make this a learning opportunity for ourselves and others on campus. It is our hope to engage with the many student organizations expressing concern and use this moment to build a more inclusive and culturally sensitive community.

"We are deeply sorry that we did not live up to the values of our fraternity, of our campus community and the personal integrity of the men in our chapter. While we regret this embarrassing event took place, it will continue to be a lesson for our members in racial and cultural sensitivity, followed by an open, ongoing dialogue with our fellow students."
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