Racist is as racist does

Jan 30, 2014
One day after the national day of remembrance and celebration dedicated to the life and sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Arizona State University chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon threw an MLK Day party in which the theme was dressing and acting black.

They didn’t dress up as Medgar Evers, Stokley Carmichael, Cornel West, Barack Obama or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They didn’t conduct themselves to reflect a race of people, who through peaceful protest and intellect, forced a racist nation to acknowledge their human right to dignity. To equality.

That would be an accurate depiction of the majority of black America.

The college students decided for that day they would combine all the negative stereotypes of black Americans into a derogatory caricature and act like ignoramuses in disdain of Dr. King.

The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity posted party photos on Instagram wearing oversized basketball jerseys, bandanas, sagging pants, flashing gang signs, drinking out of watermelons with bananas tucked into their waistlines. They were even wretched enough to accompany the party photos with hashtags such as #hood, #ihaveadream, and #blackoutformlk.

The ASU-TKE chapter was recently reinstated as a fraternity after being suspended for a debacle involving more than a dozen TKE frat members assaulting members of rival fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon in November of 2012.

ASU responded to TKE’s MLK Black Party by immediately suspending the chapter’s operations and promising “additional action against the individuals involved” because at the time of the party TKE was on social probation and prohibited from having parties.

Three days later, ASU followed through with its vow to punish this wrong by abolishing the TKE chapter’s recognition as a fraternity on the ASU campus and is continuing to investigate individual TKE members and other students who attended the party.

The university is not alone in distancing themselves from the actions of a deplorable few. The Tau Kappa Epsilon International fraternity apologized for the actions of its chapter, stating: “TKE does not condone or support any actions by its members that would be defined as racist, discriminatory and/or offensive.

Social events with “party themes” that are defined as such have no place in our fraternity’s mission or purpose. It is with embarrassment and regret when a few individuals within our organization make decisions that do not align with the values and principles of TKE”

TKE, established in 1899, is one of the largest college social fraternities in the world, with chapters in almost 300 campuses in North America and more than 265,000 members, most of whom are not racist and a considerable number are black.

What might a national response be if a predominantly black college fraternity threw a JFK Day white party with members and attendants wearing bibbed overalls, drinking Natural Light, flaunting counterfeit crystal meth, and sporting temporary tattoo swastikas?

Would there be more of a public outcry if the hashtags read #redneck, #whiteoutforjfk and #asknotwhatyourcountrycandoforyou?

This could very well incite a renewal of racial tension in America or it can serve as a reminder that an ignorant minority of us still cling to racial sentiments toward men, women, everyone. Where the aftermath of this event takes us is totally up to us.

ASU and TKE both stood steadfast in disapproval of the chapter’s actions, ASU answering with quick permanent decisive action and TKE issuing a humble apology for its chapter clarifying in no way do the decisions of an ill-advised few reflect the understanding of the whole.

The ASU-TKE chapter does not represent anyone other than itself and the ignorance should disgrace the members who participated and those members alone. Much more can be said of the ASU-TKE chapter, but why? It has succeeded in making itself irrelevant. Our neighbors are still our neighbors and our friends are still our friends despite ethnicity and/or sexual preference. The majority of us do not share the ASU-TKE chapter’s view of our fellow man and we have to be aware of and secure in that fact. As a people we cannot allow hatred to sabotage peace and progress.



What day was that? Oreo always meant a black person acting white. Allen West is definitely not an accurate depiction of Black America!


Why? Because he is successful? As long as that is how mainstream black society treats successful blacks, you will always be stereotyped as ghetto thugs.

Simple Enough II

Oh My...You used the new N word "Thug".....Never thought of it that way, i always thought of a Thug as "A cutthroat or ruffian; a hoodlum.", not "homo thug; Definitions include: a homosexual who portrays himself as a thug, for a variety of possible reasons", but maybe that is the problem, they are having an identity crisis?


No, it has nothing to do with his supposed success. He could not even fool the voters. His derogatory remarks cost him BIG TIME! You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, as usual. What exactly is a ghetto thug?


Your mom


What is a ghetto thug? Do you have a mirror?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

"Would there be more of a public outcry if the hashtags read #redneck, #whiteoutforjfk and #asknotwhatyourcountrycandoforyou?"

Speaking as a fat, white guy: I don't care. I'd look and laugh at it because it is ignorant and not reflective of today's morals and values. I cracked up watching Dave Chapelle dress up as a "white guy" to see what "our" world was like. I was wiping tears from my eyes when is South Park a Chinese character impersonated a white guy saying "I THINK I'LL USE MY CREDIT CARD - HAH HAH HAH!"

Plus, college kids do idiotic things all the time. What that fraternity did was dumb but the amount of what we kids call "butthurt" flows at unprecidented levels. It wasn't sponsored by the college, it wasn't lauded by the entire student population. It was a poor choice in an isolated part of the community there at large.

In my world this has been made manifest recently with the game Magic: the Gathering. A fictional character in this fictional game has a fictional name that sounds like a Maori word. A member of that ethnic community wrote to Wizards of the Coast saying he was offended and in response Wizards changed the character's name.

This set off a firestorm conversation on the popular site 4chan, and in particular it's Traditional Games (/tg/) board. The official response from Wizards is here:


Now, the base of the argument is that the vast majority of people either didn't know or didn't have any ill intent with the name. However in the wake of this lashing out, the point was made that now since you can't talk about Maori culture without being browbeaten over things who wants to look into it further from the gateway that was otherwise provided? The lashing out now is a mockery of a culture that otherwise could have had positive attention drawn to it.

To be fair, other claimed Maori were in the thread distancing themselves from this complainer. That's very understandable, too. I don't really enjoy being associated with some of the commentators here let alone ACTUAL WHITE RACISTS who exist yet I am somehow as guilty as they are of being as I am not in the minds of some. But...so what? I am who I am and I will prove that I am not what a severe minority of the population may think of me.

Responses of this like were made regarding the card game fiasco:

I'm an Irish Catholic and I take offense to the card Mass Hysteria. Since Mass is a sacred time of gathering and talking to God and the root of hysteria is Greek for womens' reproductive issues I would ask that Wizards shows a bit more sensitivity. I long for a world I can live in when my faith isn't criticized by outsider majorities.


I'm of Iranian descent and I am offended by the card Polis Crusher. Polis has a root in my language for culture. Congrats, Wizards, you made a card called "Culture Crusher" that targets me as an ethnic minority and illustrates your distaste for my ancestry.

Despite the epic diversity of thought represented on /tg/ many felt that this was a non-issue and an overreaction to something that may at worst have been a completely unintended "oops". As for the college kids dressing up? It's dumb, but guess what? I would wager that 99% of the people who read about that incident rolled their eyes despite the color of skin framing them and said "wow, that's dumb, but with reactions from the black community like this why should I bother trying to understand it?".

The echoing opinion on /tg/ was: Just because you are [a person is] offended doesn't make you [him/her] right.

Mr. Newell I say with joy that you will find an overwhelming majority of people agree with what happened was stupid, but it was isolated and in the grand scheme of everything else right and wrong with our country, economy, and personal lives a non-issue. That is good news. People will always be dumb and as you state it is an ignorant minority only.

But just as important is the reaction to these dumb people as more harm than good can come from the response than the initial infraction.


"Mr. Newell I say with joy that you will find an overwhelming majority of people agree with what happened was stupid, but it was isolated and in the grand scheme of everything else right and wrong with our country, economy, and personal lives a non-issue. That is good news. People will always be dumb and as you state it is an ignorant minority only.

But just as important is the reaction to these dumb people as more harm than good can come from the response than the initial infraction."

Very well put, Hero Zone.

Mr. Newell, I think you've written this article just to cause controversy. Like Hero Zone stated, it was isolated and the people involved were punished. That should be the end to it. In my opinion, you yourself come across as racist by trying to stir up trouble.

In response to your question, if the party was about JFK, my response would be the same.


"I think you've written this article just to cause controversy"....

That's a HORRENDOUS accusation. You could make that elementary, shortsighted claim about any editorial.

And why does everyone think they can tell blacks how they should feel about certain issues? OBVIOUSLY, there is much more sensitivity in black culture than in white. It has a little something to do with being enslaved for centuries, the backlash of that, and decades upon decades of racism that ensued and still exist to a lesser degree today.


Thank you Reggie!


Great comment Reggie!


I'm not backing off MY OPINION. I feel he wrote the article to cause controversy. He could have written about anything, but yet he chose to write about an isolated insident that was dealt with immediately with punishment handed out to the offenders.

Reggie--You stated that "there is much more sensitivity in black culture than white about blacks being enslaved for centuries and the backlash of that." Slavery was abolished more than 100 years ago. Why should I me made to feel guilty about it? I didn't enslave anyone. If the black culture wants to end racism, it would be a step in the right direction if they didn't bring up slavery and oppresion from the white race all the time. For heaven sakes; the white race obliterated the American Indians until they were forced onto reservations. Thousands were SLAUGHTERED (including women and children) for their lands. You certainly don't hear them yelling racism, racism at every chance they get.

I'm done trying to defend my opinion. It's mine and I'm sticking to it.

And so it's clear to EVERYONE: First, I am not racist to anyone who is not racist to me first. I don't judge people by the color of their skin, but by how they treat others.

Second, I think that the party the fraternity had was a dumb move on their part. I don't know what the organizers were thinking when they decided on their "theme", but I do know the punishment they got was deserved.



You didn't read to the end. "The majority of us do not share the ASU-TKE chapter’s view of our fellow man and we have to be aware of and secure in that fact. As a people we cannot allow hatred to sabotage peace and progress."


"Mr. Newell, I think you've written this article just to cause controversy."

Well, DUH!!! That's just doing his job. This IS the Sandusky Register, after all.


Catholics are despicable. Terrible values. Very destructive to families with gay members. Wierd beliefs that harm people. That's why 12 % of Americans are former catholics.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

The point that reply was trying to make was to showthat anyone can find something, even unintentional, to raise sisome kind of point. It was sarcasm used to illustrate an unnecessary reaction to an inconsequential event such as a fictional card depicting a riot of people being named "mass hysteria" when it had nothing to do with religion. Yet a "connection" was made.

The response you provided backs up the point that often the reaction to a real/perceived sleight makes a problem out of a non-issue. After all, if far-reaching presumptions or ire-filled retorts are what people should expect when approaching Catholics is it even "worth the trouble"?

The kid on the playground can't pine for friends if he keeps his ball from the others after snapping at them for not being able to use it the only way he feels is necessary.

Anyway your opinion is your own regarding that religion. They all have hardliners, browbeaters, and shrews. But I'll happily continue to serve and be friends with the Catholics I know who aren't as you described and patronize my business filled with content that I am sure in some way violates scripture... Such as my copies of Mass Hysteria.


I enjoy your posts Hero Zone but I do wish they were a bit more concise.
I disagree that the response was unnecessary and the event was inconsequential. Why is it when Blacks speak out against offensive actions by others it is deemed unnecessary or stirring up controversy? You have to admit that if a group of Blacks had done this to offend Jews on an important day for them there would be major outrage. Whites were outraged just recently when some Japanese did a whiteface skit. I think it is fine to honor anyone you respect and admire any way you choose as long as it is respectful. This was not the case here. MLK did not only fight for Blacks. I really think that is forgotten.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I'm both white and a Japanophile yet I didn't hear about the incident you mention. Even presuming it did happen...so what? I care not. My butt doth not hurt at their antics. Was the sole reason for this incident to incite racial insensitivity? Or was it for one of their wacky entertainment or game shows? No matter the reason, it was one small group in your example. I am neither outraged nor have I lost my fascination with their culture, language, geography, religions, etc.

If some group of "white people" (can there be any more vanilla term? pun intended) is up in arms about a group of Japanese then they must not have a lot of other things going on in their lives. Must be nice. I wish I had the time and energy to complain about ultimately-irrelevant things. First-world problems all the way. 'MURRICA!

Also I thank you both for your compliment about my posts and the fact that despite their length you still read them. What is keeping me from being concise is that if I don't include examples, stories, mnemonic devices, or other things my points would be lost, misconstrued, or deemed irrelevant due to their lack of content. So I take happiness in the journey, not the destination and want as many people to travel with me as possible.

Storytelling, after all, is what differentiates us from all the other animals and is what binds all cultures to a common thread.

Here is something for you to watch, if you care to do so. I have no way to know if it will have you cracking up, fuming, or "meh". But I'll provide the link below for the six-minute video. After that I'll provide the context for it so you can choose to read it before or after watching the video (presuming you do at all). I will say that it is NSFW in the sense that people who aren't expecting this kind of comedy presentation or who lack the context for the video may be taken aback off the cuff:

Tokyo Breakfast

Context below...




Tom Kuntz
Short films
In 2000, Kuntz (and Maguire) released the 6-minute short film Tokyo Breakfast. The spoof sitcom is a parody of the Japanese perception of day-to-day doings of an American family, with an emphasis on the skewed emulation of a perceived black culture. Characters use the term "nigga" with unusual frequency and familiarity. The film appeared in numerous film festivals and also spread as an Internet phenomenon.


I agree, Skullnbones. As a former Catholic, I'm one of the 12%. All manner of immoral behavior is done (and excused) on behalf of religion - across the world, and Catholicism is certainly Poster Child for that in the Western Hemisphere. And why should we be surprised that they treat their fellow man poorly, when all they have to do is ask forgiveness, certain that God will forgive them? It's ok to discriminate, because the Bible says it's ok.

It's sobering to realize that, in many cases, the more religious a person is, the less empathy they show towards others. I don't think Jesus would give a stamp of approval to most modern-day Christians.


"wearing oversized basketball jerseys, bandanas, sagging pants, flashing gang signs". Since when is this racist? The person or persons that see this and thinks its racist, are the true racist. I see white and black people dressing and acting like this on a daily basis. Its not called racism its called lack of intelligence and lack of respect for themselves and lack of respect for others. Why do we have to see these punk thugs walking around with their pants hanging around their knees? or in other words, they're ignorant.


By having a "black party" and dressing like that, they're insinuating that all blacks dress like that and are seemingly unintelligent. You get this right? Or are you having trouble with the concept?

You also act like blacks are the only ones to dress like G's


Just like the point Damon made, all Blacks DO NOT ACT OR DRESS THAT WAY. I see so many positive Blacks on a daily basis but their contribution to society is ignored.


You an electrician?

Simple Enough II

+1, I got it!


Few will

Pterocarya frax...

I got it...your name is Chuck Hoefert. You aren't funny as a columnist or a commenter.


Busted! Lmao


Unless they are a successful, wealthy black man, then they are an uncle tom, right deerturd? Don't try to escape it considering your above comment concerning Allen West. I'm sure you feel the same way about Tim Scott and Herman Cain. It is amazing that ignorant blacks like you are still beholden to people who have done more to harm and keep blacks in the ghetto and abject poverty than any group in history. Really SMDH.


You couldn't be more wrong! I did not call West an Uncle Tom so don't put words in my mouth. What has any of the guys you mentioned done to help the Black community? I am not ignorant or beholdened to anyone and I am definitely not ghetto. Just because you identify with a Black man that degrades his own people does not mean all other Blacks are bad or ghetto. You need to stick with what you know and stop making generalizations about Blacks. You are a white boy! Got it! Stay in your lane please!


What is Black Entertainment Television (BET), BlackStarz, and the new one I just saw last week, the Black Shopping Network.

How about HBCU? (Historically Black College and Universities)

Are these forms of racism Mr. Newell?

If it was WET, WhiteStarz, or the White Shopping Network, I would guarantee the race baiter in chief, good ol' Al and the Reverend would be up in arms!

Is this like the Wayans Brothers dressing up as white girls, acting like white girls, dressing like white girls, talking and laughing like white girls, while making a full feature motion picture? No that would be different, right?