G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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It’s sort of like when you round up a group of friends to go to a movie and then when you get to the theater and the movie you were all dying to see is sold out and you say “ah, hell, since we’re here we might as well see something, right?” That’s what’s going on with this whole Oberlin College case of “MistaKKKen” identity. Now that awareness has been raised to a proper level, might as well have a nationwide teach-in on racist hate happenings.
Josh Voorhees at Slate:
Even if the KKK sighting turns out to have been a mistake, innocent or otherwise, it doesn’t change the fact that the school has struggled in recent weeks to handle an outbreak of hate speech-related vandalism.
And Grace Hwang Lynch at BlogHer:
Police were called out the college, where they weren’t able to find any Klansmen, but they did spot a woman walking around wrapped up in a blanket.
So are we all good now?
Not so fast. You see, the reason why the potential KKK spotting was such a big deal is that in the past month, Oberlin College has had numerous incidents of racist and homophobic vandalism, documented on the Tumblr Oberlin Microagressions.
Lynch relates a string of minor incidents that took place on campus:
In 2009, a “Mexican Party” was thrown on campus where some attendees dressed as undocumented immigrants (whatever that entails) and drug dealers. During my senior year (‘09-’10), I was asked by a white girl one Saturday (in my own house, of all places) if my afro that day was in honor of the “Pimps and Hoes” party that evening. Both of these parties prompted campus-wide talks, solidarity meetings, discussions with the student senate and a forum or two. In 2011, someone spray painted “n*ggerf*ggot” on a dorm wall, and earlier this year, I saw a few posts on Facebook and Tumblr about someone scrawling “n*gger” on posters (different from the documented incidents above) along with a call to action, but there didn’t seem to be an overwhelming outpouring of student anger or responsiveness from the administration. In the end, incidents like these seemed to always blow over.
By the way, it seems to have been lost on people that the repetitive use of this term “niggerfaggot” in some of the scrawlings across campus are a reference to a skit performed by Donald Glover who later played the temporary love interest to Lena Dunham.