In an age where just about everything is somehow offensive, now even a party where bad guys are the subject doesn’t make the cut.
At Duke, roughly two dozen protesters held a “teach-in” at the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity to show their displeasure at its annual “prison-themed party,” which is held in conjunction with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
“Our fellow classmates find it appropriate to so callously ‘party’ around a theme that has brought pain, suffering and violence into the lives of so many,” the protesters wrote in a statement given out to onlookers.
“Their acts normalize a system that enacts brutality and violence against low-income communities and communities of color—right here, down the road, in Durham.”
The demonstrators also called for the abolition of prisons in the United States because they “facilitate the mass incarceration of people of color.”
Of slightly lesser bombast, they also demanded the end of the university Greek system.
We call to abolish prisons and abolish Greek life because they both serve to uphold a social order founded on white supremacy, cisheteropatriarchy and capitalist accumulation of power and wealth,” the protestors wrote in their statement.
After reading their statement, the protestors opened the floor for comments from the onlookers. Several students said that although they agreed that the issues raised by the protestors were important, they took issue with points the protestors’ statement or tone.
“I’m a white guy who agrees with about 80 percent of what you are saying,” junior Spenser Easterbrook said. “I agree that there are a lot of problems with the criminal justice system. How do you advocate for a position of abolishing prisons? How can you possibly have a society that functions if it doesn’t punish people who break laws or violate the rights of other people?”
At one point, in response to a question, a protester compared the mass incarceration of “black and brown people” in the United States to the Holocaust, a statement which drew a reaction from the onlooking crowd.
Take note, too, of the protesters’ reaction to Easterbrook: When he asked how the country can do without jails, the demonstrators offered “restorative justice” as a remedy.
But they were miffed at the differing degrees of silence afforded each party — the onlooking crowd was louder, they claimed, when the protesters replied.
“This occurred,” they said, “because Easterbrook was white.”
Oh, sure. The increase in noise level couldn’t have been due to, say, their completely ludicrous response to Easterbrook’s question?
Decibels are racist.
So, folks, once again: Whenever you hear those demands for “real conversations about race,” always remember the desire actually is for anything but. Just sit down, shut up, and accept what those “conversing” say. Period.