Two incidents with racial undertones stirring anger on UW-Whitewater campus

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WHITEWATER -- A pair of incidents with racial undertones are stirring anger on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus. University officials say one seems to be a misunderstanding, while the other is under investigation.

Members of UW-Whitewater's Black Student Union say both incidents demonstrate the problems on campus.

One incident involves two white students who repeatedly used the "N word" in a video posted to social media.

The other incident involves two white students who took a photo wearing, what some say, looks a lot like blackface.

Incident on UW-Whitewater campus

"The fact is we`re allowing ignorant things like that to take place without any repercussion or without any type of education," Reginald Kirby, UW-Whitewater Black Student Union undergraduate coordinator said.

Members of UWW's Black Student Union were skeptical of any explanations for the photo posted to social media.

Reginald Kirby, UW-Whitewater Black Student Union undergraduate coordinator

Reginald Kirby, UW-Whitewater Black Student Union undergraduate coordinator

"Why are you straight-faced, doing a hand sign that is typically associated in pictures with African-Americans?" one student said.

A university spokeswoman said: "We've spoken with the students who were pictured on social media and it was determined they were wearing a cosmetic facial mask and did not intend to cause harm to anyone."

Students with the Black Student Union say despite their concerns, the photo is mild when compared with something else that surfaced on campus this week.

"(The photo), I believe, is ignorant. That`s something done out of ignorance. Now, the (N word) video, that`s a malicious act and they knew that would be offensive," Kirby said.

Reginald Kirby, UW-Whitewater Black Student Union undergraduate coordinator shows FOX6 News video of students using N word

Reginald Kirby, UW-Whitewater Black Student Union undergraduate coordinator shows FOX6 News video of students using N word

Students with the Black Student Union said they learned of the video on Wednesday, February 17th.

A university spokeswoman said the dean of students is investigating.

"It blew up overnight. Like, let`s say it started at 8 -- it continued through the wee hours of the morning until now," Radaya Ellis, president of UW-Whitewater's Black Student Union said.

Ellis says she knows some will justify the student's language by pointing out that some black people use the n-word in their own conversations.

"The n-word is a bad thing for anyone who says it," she said, "Just because the black community made it more comfortable to be said among ourselves, doesn’t give even us a pass to say it but it’s more hurtful from those who created the word."

Students with the Black Student Union said one of the girls seen in the video has since apologized.

The group's vice president recorded video Thursday showing the students seen in the photo also apologizing.

Below is the complete statement to FOX6 News from the UW-Whitewater spokeswoman:

"We’ve spoken with the students who were pictured on social media and it was determined that they were using a cosmetic facial mask and did not intend to cause harm to anyone. However, there was a negative reaction to the photo from students, parents and alumni and Chancellor Kopper responded to the situation at the time.

The Dean of Students office is currently investigating the video that you referenced in your email.

Chancellor Kopper has made it clear to the campus community that the campus culture issues that we are faced with must be resolved. She has implemented a working group and she will meet with students again next week to create action plans. She is committed to developing long-term strategies in which all students, faculty and staff members feel respected, heard and appreciated for their life experiences and their differences."

Students with the Black Student Union said they want to know there will be discipline -- especially for the two girls seen in the video.

54 comments

  • DigitalHermit

    Please do provide a real life example of this so-called “hate speech” you claim isn’t covered under the first Amendment. I’m all ears.

  • Jason

    I’m guessing since the majority of students are white and have much in common with each other, they are well represented on campus.. As the BSU would be a voice of african american students, in cases like these.

  • Dan

    I chose to serve this country instead of going to college. Which in turn gave me the education, confidence, and skills to open a very successful business. You are missing the point. It was wrong then, but now society needs to accept it reversed? What I’m saying is they are not correcting anything by further distancing people with different skin colors. And by having a Black Student Union that is what your doing. Your teaching people that being racist is OK, as long is your black not white.

  • Sarah Hanson

    You white people are delusional and ignorant to think that this is okay on any level. If you are not black you should not use that word AT ALL for any reason! If Black people want to refer to themselves as such then so be it. But you my friend are not entitled. get over yourselves

    • molon labe

      “Sarah” – Please go out and see the world. Judging from your ignorant comments, I can tell you haven’t been anywhere much at all; not cultured. That word you are using, black, I do not think it means what you think it means. Don’t be racist.

    • Lionel Davis

      Poor little downtrodden, discounted, demeaned Negroes. You would think you were slaves in a Muslim country. GET A LIFE.

      • adrastus

        “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs-partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” BOOKER T. Washington. Here’s one of them:
        http://jail.com/arrest-records/nathaniel-hamilton-13374824

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  • Bob Miller

    Key word BLACK people, if they want to refer to themselves as such then so be it! That does NOT make it right for white people or any other race to use that word. What does black people calling themselves that have to do with you, how does that effect your life??? It doesn’t does it ? EXACTLY

  • Bob Miller

    I get upset when white think all black people are criminals or thugs. Meanwhile all you white people are shooting up schools, movie theaters, killing your parents for their insurance money and raping little kids.

  • Jack

    It said 10 comments and only posted 3. That is not good when we are supposed to have free speech. Instead we have liberal selective speech. 6 Now are ridiculous!

  • Joe Kazmierczak

    So we are supposed to look past things that happen in this country directed towards caucasians (such as Beyonce halftime show or BLM) but we are supposed to all pay attention and mind our tongue towards all other races. No one should use the “N word” yet its in rap music constantly. Slavery was abolished in 1863 making no one in this country still alive that has experienced it. Lets maybe move past that…..I understand your offended…..So am I on a daily basis in this country (such as BLM) but you need to learn how to brush things off now and again and pick your battles. We have a African American President yet racism has never been worse. To many people feel entitled in this country but not in a good way or on the right issues. We’re all entitled to our own opinion and that’s all they are is opinions so for a change try ignoring rather than pushing the issue. Its no different then religion, and religion has killed more people than slavery. Any of us can choose any religion we like, and you can try sharing or pushing your religious views on who ever you like but you much like myself will simply ignore it if I am not interested or want to hear it. Try my approach and these people will simply go away and lose interest.

    • molon labe

      Maybe we should focus on what’s really affecting America and get away from being victimized by the strategy of distraction:
      The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction which is to divert public attention from important issues and changes determined by the political and economic elites, by the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information. distraction strategy is also essential to prevent the public interest in the essential knowledge in the area of the science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics. “Maintaining public attention diverted away from the real social problems, captivated by matters of no real importance. Keep the public busy, busy, busy, no time to think, back to farm and other animals (quote from text Silent Weapons for Quiet War ).”

  • molon labe

    Suppose you are in an ideal position to raise a flourishing child. You are well-educated, financially secure, have plenty of social support, and so on. (I do not mean to imply that lacking any of these advantages will necessarily prevent a child from flourishing – just that these are advantages, in that they improve the odds that a child will flourish.) Further, suppose that you have a loving disposition, and would certainly care deeply and well for any child you might have. Yet, as it happens, you are ambivalent about the prospect of having children, since you have many other interests and life projects you value, which would be curtailed (at least to some extent) were you to have children. http://www.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005349

  • DigitalHermit

    I was offended to see this as the lead story on the 9 o’clock news last night and I want to know when those responsible for it will be disciplined.

  • molon labe

    It’s NOT the color of their skin; numb nuts, it’s the content of their character you should focus on THAT!!

    • john (cia)

      Everyone, don’t be racist against all people of a color, you should hate your gov’t and MSM who is provoking this divide and conquer schematic for purpose of control and future moves on the law side. Don’t fall victim to these games:

    • me

      You are the white student union!! we are in a white mans world brought here and taught to obey you! Get a clue! Racism is soo stupid. IM A BLACK WOMEN who has lived around white people my whole life and not one time have i looked at us any different than people with different cultural backgrounds. the ignorance n this page is ridiculous, its clearly black face end of story. you don’t say the n word and then all of a sudden show up with a black face, its clearly targeted towards blacks. Its offensive but yet i was raised in a white world and i ignore the ignorance.

  • slave master

    We are definitely not one race. Blacks are dumber then most animals. Name one city or country where the majority is black that isn’t a sh|thole

  • Claire

    Funny cause your president is black ! Get a life idiot ! Or better, move to a different planet ! It sucks to be you!

    • molon labe

      “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs-partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” BOOKER T. Washington. Here’s one of them:
      http://jail.com/arrest-records/nathaniel-hamilton-13374824
      ps. CLAIRE SUCKS and is completely asleep.

  • Sick of Your Whining

    News flash! The racist Blacks are just as racist as the racist Whites. Except Blacks can for some reason get away with it. Try starting the White Student Union….can’t do that! That’s racist!

  • Carl the truth

    If you believe you are better you will think and act and live as such. If you believe you are a constant victim you will act as such. My advice to you blacks who are victims or believe your lot in life is capped by rasism. Forget about your race and aspire to be an great individual. Rise above it.

  • Carl the truth

    the federal government keeps you segregated by casting you as victims and unwittingly aforce you to over identify with your race rather than valuing you as unique and talented individuals

  • jeff

    This non-story creates outrage at UW-W, but when there are allegations of sexual assault being ignored by the university, no one is concerned…..get your priorities in order.

  • Mike

    What did the white student union have to say about all of this? Oh, my bad, it would be racist to have a white student union, but ok to have a black student union. And the racists are? Double standards abound!!!

  • Jim

    Its a cosmetic face mask and 2 teenage girls singing a rap song get over it. Over sensitivity maybe BSU blowing something out of proportion while seeking attention most likely.

  • Lisa Saunders

    *Views comments to read people defending racism, bringing up slavery when it wasn’t mentioned in the article, as well as sharing how much they inexplicably hate the Black Lives Matter movement.

    *Succeeds.

Comments are closed.