Saturday, October 6, 2007

Stupid Facebook Tricks

The article accompanying the picture:
OCTOBER 2--A group of white Louisiana college students dressed in blackface and reenacted the "Jena 6" assault while a friend snapped photos and videotaped the staged attack, images that were later posted to a participant's Facebook page. The photos, which you'll find on the following pages, were taken late last month on the bank of the Red River, where students from the University of Louisiana at Monroe giddily acted out the racial attack. The photos (and the short video clip at right) were posted to the Facebook page of Kristy Smith, a freshman nursing student. The album of images was entitled "The Jena 6 on the River." In the video, three students with mud smeared across their bodies stomp on a fourth student, while two of the participants are heard to say, "Jena 6." One man can also be heard saying, "Niggers put the noose on." After the video and photos on Smith's page were discovered by fellow students, she removed the material and made her Facebook page private. Smith, who did not respond to a TSG e-mail sent to her school address, apologized for the images in several recent Facebook postings. "We were just playin n the mud and it got out of hand. I promise i'm not racist. i have just as many black friends as i do white. And i love them to death," she wrote. She added in a later message that her friends "were drinking" and things "got a lil out of hand." When faced with heated online criticism from fellow students, Smith yanked the photos and video from Facebook, but not before one student downloaded the photos and another videotaped the video directly from her computer screen (and then posted the clip on YouTube). The Monroe campus is about 65 miles north of Jena, where thousands of marchers gathered on September 21 to protest what they claimed was unfair legal treatment given to six young black men arrested in the beating of a white high school classmate. (5 pages)

BLACKFACEBOOK: College students in Texas, Connecticut, and South Carolina have previously posted similar racially charged images on Facebook.

TSG also has the videoclip in question, as well as some other pictures that this student had posted on her Facebook page. I'm sure that the student is very embarrassed (I mean, come one: what do you expect when you post inflamatory audio/visual materials on a public Facebook profile? Of course other students are going to noticed!!!), and obviously doing some damage control - although once someone utters "I'm not racist", my inclination is to roll my eyes in disbelief.

Of course, before you actually go using blackface on your blog (or Myspace or Facebook profile), you might wish to consult some sage advice.

Naturally, the tendency to obfuscate matters of racist or sexist behavior by playing the "good intentions" card (i.e., "Person X didn't intend to be racist, it just unfortunately looked that way") is pretty well par for the course in among Euro-Americans; whereas people of color tend to look at the tangible behaviors themselves (an approach I generally advocate taking).

In the meantime, the necessary conversation about the extent that American society is harboring latent (and periodically overt) racism both at individual and structural levels is long overdue.

Hat tip to luisa, a commenter at the Unapologetic Mexican.

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