The Citadel, a state-supported military college in Charleston, SC, suspended cadets who were dressed up as "ghosts" in a Christmas skit performed on Thursday. This is the photo of them posted to social media:
The so-called ghost costumes look suspiciously like Ku Klux Klan attire.
Alumnus Lamont A. Melvin, PhD, MBA '91, posted on the Citadel Minority-Alumni Facebook page, "Much more needs to be done to address the culture that continues to house recurring prejudices against minority cadets. At the very least, there needs to be a zero-tolerance policy established immediately for racially charged and racially motivated rhetoric and activity."
This is not an isolated incident. The Citadel has a long history of racism and harassment: CBS's 60 Minutes reported on and exposed the school's use of KKK and Nazi imagery on campus in 1997.
The Citadel official Facebook page responded with a statement from the Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, USAF (Ret.), the school's president, saying, "In accordance with college policy, we immediately began suspension proceedings for those cadets known to be involved, and we are continuing to investigate this incident. Preliminary reports are cadets were singing Christmas carols as part of a 'Ghosts of Christmas Past' skit. These images are not consistent with our core values of honor, duty, and respect."
We can only hope that the administration follows through and takes action immediately.
What makes this more disturbing is the fact that many of these cadets will go on to serve in the military and hold leadership positions. Whether or not they are supposed to look likes ghosts is neither here nor there; a casual observer could point out what these cadets look like and surely, they could, too.
OPENER IMAGE: The State/Getty Images.