At a University Park Undergraduate Association assembly meeting soon after Halloween weekend, members of the Penn State Student Black Caucus took to the microphone to voice their concerns with insensitive costumes that they had noticed students wearing.
The Student Black Caucus members detailed seeing students wearing blackface and “Arab garb,” insinuating that some were attempting to dress as terrorists. They added that some of the students in blackface were dressed as Obama, some as the characters from the film Cool Runnings, and others just as a stereotypical African American. They asked that UPUA address the racial insensitivity, specifying that that their Diversity Committee should work on making students more culturally knowledgeable.
“I find these acts deplorable and completely unacceptable,” said one of the Student Black Caucus members. “I am reaching out to UPUA in hopes that they will address these issues.”
It has been a little over a month since that assembly meeting, but an email has been passed around taking steps to gauge what University Park students think about race and diversity issues on campus… through a survey. The survey asks questions about students feeling unsafe because of their race on campus, their experiences with racism, and how comfortable they feel reporting incidences of racial insensitivity.