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By John Murillo III
The University of California, Irvine’s Black Student Union continues to act in response to one instance in a lengthy genealogy of antiblack events on the university campus, in the UC System, and in the world writ large. Lambda Theta Delta, self-described as the largest Asian-American interest fraternity on UCI’s campus, a group that professes “cultural awareness,” posted a video that parodies Justin Timberlake’s “Suit ant Tie” featuring Jay-Z in which one student—the student playing the part of Jay-Z—emerges in blackface.
Black students expressed their outrage to the students in question at meetings of the Multicultural Greek Council and Student-Parent Orientation Program (SPOP) staffers, over the Internet across several venues, and through various news outlets, maintaining the refrain: “While there is racism, we will not rest.” Black students continue to pursue action following apologies from both the fraternity and one of the students seen in the video due to the aforementioned genealogy of antiblackness at and beyond UCI’s campus. This event marks but another point in a continuum of events that both include and exceed the Greeks, the university, and its students.
Which is to say, Black students’ response, continued outrage, and persistent pursuit of action in response to this event in particular seeks only to take advantage of what has become a publicized platform for Black voices to express their frustration, discontent, fear, and anger at the continued struggle to deal with what are, in many cases, daily instances of antiblackness, on campus and off, in the UC System and beyond. The students seek to challenge the violence they experience for simply ‘being’ Black in the world with this instance of antiblackness as a point of departure—or, rather, a point of articulation from which their needs, their pain, their rage, and their concerns can be heard.
Read more at Out Of Nowhere blog.
John Murillo is a Ph.D. student at Brown University in the English department. His research interests include theoretical physics, critical theory, afro-pessimism, cognitive neuroscience, and literary theory. He reads comic books often, and is currently working on two graphic novels.