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Wheaton College women’s soccer team suspended due to ‘blackface’ Halloween costume

The Wheaton College women’s soccer team was suspended from conference tournament play after one of its players dressed up as a character from the movie “White Chicks” for Halloween.

Wheaton president Dennis Hanno took the action because the still-unidentified player’s costume included … blackface.

“That a student at our college chose to wear blackface as part of a racist and offensive Halloween costume raises difficult issues for all of us,” Hanno said in a campus-wide email.

“I am particularly dismayed that this student did not act alone, but was part of a group of other individuals who actively participated in this event and then attempted to cover it up. This runs counter to the value that our community places on creating an inclusive and welcoming educational environment.”

Ironically, the movie’s premise features two (black) FBI agents who disguise themselves as a pair of affluent (white) sisters.

According to The Boston Globe, the student dressed up as the character played by Terry Crews in the film (Latrell Spencer). The school said that “as part of [her] costume, she darkened her skin and wore a drawn-on goatee and bald cap.”

The grievances continued, however, as the Black Student Association of Wheaton issued a set of demands upon learning of the incident.

According to The Sun ChronicleBSA president Ashley Tsegai complained her group shouldn’t have to make such demands as their concerns “should have been accomplished already simply as a matter of recourse”:

Among the demands by the BSA is that the students involved in portraying “White Chicks” in costume be removed from their extracurricular activities and any campus employment.

All athletes and athletic staff should watch the film “Bamboozle” and participate in a debrief facilitated by relevant staff and faculty.

They demand Wheaton bolster the first-year seminar requirements by creating and enforcing comprehensive racial systemic oppression awareness and inclusion curriculum throughout all departments and units that would be mandatory for all students, faculty and staff.

The group also seeks an increase in funding and resources for the Marshall Center for Intercultural Learning, the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact, the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life and other departments.

At the minimum, they said, the percentage of people of color in the country should be reflected in the employees of the college. They demand the college hire more diverse staff for the counseling center and public safety.

They demand intercultural dialogue be a requirement for all first-year students and that Wheaton College demonstrate concern for personal dignity by refusing to tolerate disrespect.

The BSA also “retained the right to add more demands as they see fit,” and added one right away: that the college commit to a “strategic timeline” to meet the group’s demands.

Read more.

MORE: Millersville U. ‘blackface’ incident results in collective outrage, groveling

MORE: HS students get ‘F’ on school project due to using blackface for ‘historical accuracy’

IMAGE: Vector DOT design/Shutterstock.com

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