By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) – Officials at Penn State published an open letter this week about an incident that has brought the university under scrutiny once more.
Members of the university's Chi Omega sorority chapter celebrated Halloween at a Mexican-themed party. They wore sombreros and ponchos and pasted fake mustaches on their faces. They held signs that said: "Will mow lawn for weed + beer." Another sign said: "I don't cut grass. I smoke it."
Then they took a photo and posted it online. Outrage spread over the insensitive nature of the photo. Some said it perpetrated stereotypes and were culturally insensitive. Latino students on the Penn State campus demanded a direct apology from Chi Omega, which issued a statement of regret to the college newspaper.
The university president, the president of the board of trustees and other officials expressed their own feelings of deep disappointment.
"How any constituent groups or individuals in the university could behave with such insensitivity or unawareness is a question we must both ask and answer," they said in a letter Thursday.
"Our university is a place of learning and discovery, and there certainly are lessons to be relearned, or even discovered for the first time, from these incidents," the letter said. "The simplest of those lessons is that costumes that include blackface, or that parody or imitate a person or groups of people, are always offensive to someone. They convey either a lack of awareness about the human condition and human sensitivities or, worse yet, disdain for the thoughts, feelings, histories and experiences of others. They suggest a failure to empathize or even a failure to think. They make all of us small."
The incident comes in the wake of this year's conviction of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky for sexually abusing 10 boys over a period of 15 years. He was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison. The scandal led to the dismissal of legendary head coach Joe Paterno, who died only weeks later, and severe NCAA penalties against the school's storied football program.
Reaction to the Chi Omega story, however, has not all been of dismay or outrage.
Some CNN.com readers commented that the picture was just plain old college fun. "Anyone who is offended by this needs to take a pill," said one reader.
Two people who identified themselves as Latino wrote on CNN's Facebook page:
"As a Hispanic-American, I don't find it "offensive" at all," wrote Will Jiminez. "Just a bunch of college kids having fun, if it was offensive I would have cut my wrist every time Family Guy made a joke like this. Kids having fun, that's all! If you're actually offended by this, you're an idiot!!!!
And Adrian Briones said: "I'm Mexican-American myself and I think this pic was just meant to be funny/harmless. The media just trying to make this an issue, like everything else."
But fun doesn't necessarily mean there's no insensitivity, said sociologist David Pilgrim, a specialist on diversity and race relations.
"The two are not mutually exclusive," he said.
When he heard about the Penn State incident, Pilgrim was reminded of a Martin Luther King party held at Tarleton State University in Texas where attendees showed up in Afro wigs and gang apparel and ate fried chicken and watermelon. One woman even dressed as Aunt Jemima.
"At those parties you don't typically have the people being caricatured in attendance," said Pilgrim, who is also the curator of the Jim Crow Museum of racist artifacts at Ferris State University in Michigan. "That means you have created a safe space in which to defame them."
But is it inherently wrong to wear clothing associated with a racial or ethnic group?
"No," said Pilgrim. "This is why I would say: Ask them what they did at the party."
Did they change the way they spoke or the way they walked? Did they perform a brown-face minstrel show?
"I, obviously, think that's wrong," Pilgrim said.
The signs the sorority women were holding were perhaps an indication that it wasn't all innocent, he said. Those signs made him think of a T-shirt he once saw on a Chicago Cubs fan: "Albert Pujols mows my lawn."
"Even a rich, successful, iconic figure can be reduced to a one-dimensional stereotype," Pilgrim said of the baseball great.
Others who commented on Facebook and Twitter said they wouldn't care if Mexicans poked fun of their blond hair or blue eyes. In other words, no one is protected from mockery.
But Pilgrim said there's an arrogance to assuming that all people are the same; one that ignores a history of discrimination in America.
Still others said the sorority women had constitutional rights to freedom of expression.
"The legal bar is often the lowest bar," Pilgrim said. "Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you should."
All said, the Penn State students happened to be caught doing something that probably happens quite often on college campuses and elsewhere in America.
Baylor University is investigating some of its students this week after similar pictures surfaced of them dressed in Mexican costumes. They showed five women dressed in serapes, sombreros and mustaches with what appears to be dirt on their faces, according to CNN affiliate KXXV. They also were wearing green signs around their neck that read "green card," or a permanent visa.
But there's another piece to this story that is troubling to Pilgrim. And that gets back to the heart of the letter issued by Penn State authorities.
Penn State is a place of higher learning, a place of grooming for future leaders. They are the ones, Pilgrim said, who will play important roles in an increasingly diverse America.
University officials said they will not pursue disciplinary action against the students in the Halloween party photo.
"These disturbing behaviors involved expressive rights protected under various federal and state laws - rights which we strongly support, and which we honor by not vainly pursuing unlawful disciplinary action against the students involved," the letter said.
But it also went on to urge all Penn Staters to reflect on the value of diversity in the university community and beyond.
"We must both celebrate our differences and embrace our common humanity," the letter said. "If we can do so, on our campuses and beyond, we will be better, our university will be better, and the world will be better."
Ultimately for people like Pilgrim who study these matters, the Penn State incident boils down to this: Was it a news story for its shock value? Perhaps not. But if anyone is asking what's wrong with what the students did, Pilgrim might say that was a question that seemed more likely in 1952, not in 2012.
But they "support" the team right?
No the coach
Well, if they'd all worn long noses and yarmulkes, and held up signs saying "Will lend money for weed," I would certainly be offended. There's no controversy here. The photograph was stupid and insensitive and has now become a "teachable moment."
No this is not racism. This is not racial humor.
There is no such thing as the "Mexican Race."
This is bigotry and stupidity, plain and simple.
Neither insensitive nor fun. Ignorance. So many people don't even know racism when they see it.
What's amusing to me is I live in Texas and know lots of Hispanics and none of them smoke pot. On the other hand, I've seen white college young women lighting up at public concerts. Oh, the irony!
Racism has to involve a race.
Which race would that be in this case?
You said "ignorance"... A culture of "arrogance" is involved here also. Usually they go hand in hand...
Correct me if I am wrong or help me if I am slow. When people plan parties they always have a theme: 70's, 80's, 90's, Disco, Toga whatever comes to their mind. Does that make them racist?!? Oh yeah what the heck is Halloween. People dress up in all type of costumes and outfits. Martians, murderers, car accident victims, murder victims: are they making fun of people too. People get a grip and a dang ole life. This is coming from a black woman.
My white friend summed it up best stating "They are saying 'I would only be you as a joke.' It's disgusting."
In addition, your comparisons of "accident victims and martians" is not the same as Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, etc and is trivializing the entire situation. This coming from a black woman as well.
Not one of the things you listed are tied to any form of known racial stereotypes. This particular event was nothing more than an insensitive and racial generalization portrayed by not just a few, but a very large group. Sorry, but you said to correct you if you were wrong. I do feel bad about it though because I feel that some of those other things you listed are insensitive in other ways, although not racially motivated as this sororities actions very much were. So I do agree with you to an extent, but the example these girls displayed was based in racial bias and a direct insult, whether they intended to do so or not.
Oh, and this comes from a white guy.
The costumes were only part of the problem. The signs are a clear indication of the beliefs of these students.
So the question you might ask yourself is if they had put on black face and held signs saying something like "Welfare Queen" would you feel the same way?
Wait! What? I thought these girls all are Obama's demographic. Didn't he sweep the vote with college age girls? They can't be offensive can they? LOL Everyone needs to calm the fudge down. No harm no foul and if you did feel harm then you are the one that needs counseling.
Stay classy Penn State.
Wonder how it would have gone over had it been a bunch of guys in the photo rather than pretty girls!
Conferences, councils, protests and senate hearings. Also fraternity would lose the charter and students evicted and shamed. Also, probably rapists.
It would have been a whole lot worse! WW3 would have been started!
We used to laugh at stereotypes to overcome them. The photo is so over the top that it appears the people in it are making fun of how white America percieves Mexicans. Consider how Mel Brooks beat up on our racial stereotypes in Blazing Saddles. He made them so absurd that they couldn't be taken seriously. Look at the photo again and tell me these people weren't going for absurdity.
Well damn Betty White to hell for her racist comments in "Bringing Down the House." The things she said were quite offensive but funny to me and a lot of people. At no point did they remove that movie out of rotation. Family Guy is off the hook when it comes to racial "comments." People choose to make a big deal out of certain things.
As a former comedian who performed in a lot of shows that did use intentionally hyperbolic stereotypes in order to show the insanity and foolishness of holding said stereotype...that is not what is happening in this photo. This is not a political commentary on the unfair application of ethnic stereotypes. Not by a long shot. This is an ethnic-themed party that got out of hand, probably the drunker they all got, and someone drunkenly thought the signs would be a funny touch for a group photo. They weren't. You can argue over how offensive this is, but one thing it is NOT is a political or social statement about such a stereotype's existence at all.
How about a group of Hispanics imitating the Chi Omegas...? Now there's a stereotype...LOL
Clearly looks like a fun themed event. Why does media pick on college students when they are the future of United States. Pick on looser gang members or criminals not on fun-loving students. They have enough stress with school work.
Yeah, they look completely stressed out. Maybe that's why they "don't cut grass, [they] smoke it". smh
Yes...because the "future" power class's detrimental view of minorities certainly doesn't have any affect on those minority classes...
The very fact that these girls are "the future of America" is EXACTLY WHY they should be called to the mat over this.
What's with that one Asian on the left? Holy crap – she's so racist!
The truth hurts, tell it like it is girls, you are my heros
Get this stupid article out of here. What kind of puritan stuff is this?
In sociological terms, by these Penn State students dressing up as Mexicans they are exoticizing the other. When this is done to a minority group it devalues them as human-beings and the controlling label serves to uphold whiteness' claim to the universal. Racial domination reproduces itself in society in many forms.
Your analysis is dangerous. By presenting a theory on social behavior as if it is a demonstrable scientific fact, you are likely perpetuating the stratification of social groups by, ironically, creating the minority victim groups you are apparently seeking to protect. Your elitist approach to social issues, while perhaps necessary for your ego, is detrimental to the overall ability of perceived victim groups to view this for what it is – a joke, whether you find it funny or not. I will give you as a person the benefit of the doubt, and assume you were engaging in an exercise of Sociology, a pseudoscience, and that you yourself don't actually believe that malarkey. I really hope you are throwing too much money down the drain on academic degrees.
you sound like a diversity rep at a coporation
this is far from newsworthy. if this were any other US school it wouldn't be on here. crap journalism, cnn. only reason this is here is because it's penn state.
"Oh I get it. That's racism. I love to racism bro." Surprise! Overprivileged white kids are minimally concerned with anything but themselves. Well thank science that the author was able to link this incident to the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Clearly once an esteemed faculty member participates in a man-boy love coverup, racial intolerance is soon to follow. At least everyone else who commented here is as cynical as me and can see through this bukake. If these Jersey harlots spent their time pursuing a real degree instead of Communications or Marketing then maybe they wouldn't have as many opportunities to waste valuable time and news resources. Hopefully someone will find another statue at Penn State to tear down so that justice can finally be served.
Wrong. Why does it matter if it is Penn State? What are you getting at? Honestly, help me here, how does Penn State have anything to do with why CNN would publish this story or not??? It's a bunch of young, ignorant, possibly stupid, college girls who did something insensitive. Are they terrible people, probably not. Is this wrong......yes. That's about it.
Well it "matters" because it is Penn State. The media will capitilize on any negativity that is afflicited or attached to the schooll or any business that has had some negative news coverage in the past. The media feeds off negativity. Sometimes the news isn't worth watching.
The Penn State motto is "Laws without morals are in vain."
Penn State put its "moral" card on the table by knowingly hiding a pedophile in their ranks. Now, any perceived immoral action at the school it news until they get a handle on it and get their house in order again. Such is life.
To the folks that say "this is not news" and "This is not newsworthy" Let me advise you or give you a new definition of news from Merriam-Webster.
Definition of NEWS
a : a report of recent events
b : previously unknown information
c : something having a specified influence or effect
a : material reported in a newspaper or news periodical or on a newscast
b : matter that is newsworthy
You, sir, could not be more pedantic if you tried.
Are you kidding me people?! This all started with the woman that sued McDonalds because she spilled her coffee, and it burned her because it was HOT! No kidding.... Now it's evolved to everyone thinks they have a right because they don't agree with someone else's opinion! You can't sit "Indian Style" anymore (it offends), now it's "Criss Cross, Apple Sauce". Jesus Christ people! Now I'm offending because I said that and I'm an Atheist! But it's okay for people to say "God Bless You, or blah blah blah about religeon to me. I don't take offense to it, I'm a big boy, I will live. People now a days need to grow up and stop being so sensitive, big babies! We as a whole will never all agree, but come one people, deal with it! We have bigger fish to fry then some group of girls dressing as Indian’s!
Love how people always go back to the McD coffee lawsuit. The coffee that burned the woman was served to her significantly hotter than it was supposed to be. The restaurant involved had been notified of proper temperature of hot drinks and failed to comply and still served the drink over 40 degrees hotter than is regulation. She had a solid case and she won it, rightly so. Go read up on it before you make a fool of yourself again.
I like your name. It's clever. But you probably already knew that.
Yes we do have bigger issues to deal with such as immigration reform, the Dream Act and whether service in the US military should give you a means to citizenship.
And of course Republicans have the big issue of how to re-brand themselves to the Latino community.
This happened before the election when the Latino community was merely an after-thought to most Americans. Now not so much.
And to bring the signs into the mix shows how big an issue this really is.
Liberals caught in the act.
Saying that dressing in mexican get-up is offensive is the same as saying that there is something wrong with being Mexican. CNN is racist for saying that.
Wait, so something happened at Penn State and no child was involved? THAT should be the headline of the story. The hi jinx of trophy wives-to-be should never be considered relevant news.
I don't get it. Are they Canadian?
Is this any worse than what comedians have been making their careers off of for decades?
It is not funny is racist period
"Racist" is being used way to much. The last time I checked this is a free country not a hypersensitive politically correct sad excuse for a country. At this rate we are staring to look like Cuba.
Hell Im offended because they werent offensive enough – T
Starting to look like Cuba? And you have the gall to claim other people are hypersensitive? When you can get your own falsely hyperbolic arguments in hand, then you can demand the same of others. Until then, you are merely the flip side of the same old coin.
rascist? really? this world is getting seriously ridicoulous. you do realize that when you call someone a hillbilly, we appalachian americans get offended. right?
And what someone used you as a costume and held a sign that said "My mother is also my sister" Think you might be a bit upset?
omg who the hell cares
You care, you took the time to comment. You must go to PSU.
Hey I am just happy CNN has got a lot of play out of this. The election is over and Blitzer still has to put food on the table.
Offensive? Hardly. These young women are doing the world a favor by showing everyone how stupid they are.
Nothing put on the Net ever truly goes away so when these girls apply for a job, a background cyber-search (the fastest growing industry in America) will bring this up. Any company thinking about hiring them will have to weigh the benefit of hiring them vs. the risk they would do something stupid and racist at work and open the company to lawsuits.
most of these girls were simply having fun at a "theme" party. if it werent for the two signs, the reaction to this photo would be "who are all those hot chicks? and how can i get in on this party?"
although i find the jokes insensitive, i seriously doubt if very many of these girls have strong feelings against the latino community. i seriously doubt if these girls have any strong opinions at all. and that is my own prejudice against sorority girls showing through.
people in their late teens/early twenties do stupid stuff. its a fact of life. sometimes it continues for the rest of their life, but some of these kids are going to learn something from the controversy surrounding their non-controversy.
I'm a Mexican American, and I agree with you. If it weren't for the signs, no big deal. But the signs do make it seem as if every Mexican is a pot head or drug dealer. But again, no big deal, and these ladies will learn. Hopefully they don't come down too hard on them.
The signs do a make a big difference. And there will be future consequences. If you were an employer/HR interviewer and interviewed one of the girls holding a sign, would you hire them? We all know that taking down the pic and tags doesn't mean it has gone away. And background cyber searches are now the norm for employment. For the rest of their lives they will have to explain their actions.
Yep. The hats and ponchos, so what. Theme party, like kilts or togas or 80's neon wear. The mustaches kinda go over the top, but the signs...that's what does it. That is what takes it from merely "let's put on 'traditional' Mexican clothing items and drink tequila all night" to "let's put on 'traditional' Mexican clothing items and drink tequila all night...oh, and aren't Mexicans also a bunch of lazy, drug-using domestics to boot?" The clothes don't show an intent to offend, the signs basically claiming Mexicans are only good for mowing lawns or getting high adds that intent.
It makes feel really old to remember a time when people had a sense of humor and didn't whine about this kind of stuff.
Every one of these girls look like spoiled witches! Therefore, it doesn't surprise me that they are insensitive, but more than likely racist. This is really disgusting, and I think it reflects a lot on what college life is like in 2012. Decades ago, colleges were protesting things that are wrong, now they are just DOING things that are wrong. Just where are all of these witches in the photo going to end up in a few years? I hope NOT as anybody's boss.
They'll be lucky to get jobs much less be a boss. A quick Google search will bring this up and any company hiring them will be leaving themselves open to lawsuits.
so still milking the teet of the penn state name? how many other like parties happened at universities all over the country? how about those nice heritage of the south parties?
II'm a Latino, I find this very hilarious especially comments even more funnier. Keep 'em coming!!!!!!
How come these white parties are never "Canadian Themed" or "Danish themed."?
Because that would be lame? Does that answer your question?
I hope that they all put this on their resume under
Non-Academic Multicultural Activities
I'm Mexican, and I'm not offended. If you are Mexican an offended...get a life and learn how to see the humor in things. Life is too short to let harmless fun bother you.
We need more people like you on this planet. I'm a white college student, so I understand there is less stereo-typing coming my way, but come on. I make fun of my Asian and black friends all the time (by stereotyping), but it is all just a joke. They even get me back often, I laugh with them. If you can't laugh at yourself, then you've got some mental issues.
So laughing at/with your friends on a personal level is the same as posting the picture on your group's website?
I guess you wouldn't mind if one of these girls made fun of your Asian of Black friends by stereotyping them.
If you ever find yourself in the position of hiring someone and come across something like this, you may want to speak with the company's lawyer before hiring them.
Lucky for the sorority Penn State has a form letter for these kinds of things. "Dear all, We of the are deeply sorry for the pain our actions have delivered, specifically , , and ..."
The costumes are fine. The signs are very stupid and asinine. They could have said "YO QUIERO TACO BELL" or something instead of insinuating that all Mexicans are gardeners..
I guess they don't know that the Latino vote decided the past presidential elections, times have changed. Just saying...
just because the latino vote factored into the election doesn't mean most of them don't mow lawns.
No....Mexicans are still mowing lawns.
I see a bunch of ugly girls who probably depend on a man for all their financial needs. Easy to mock people who work when your idea of it is sleeping with a dude a couple times per day.
I'm tired of everyone's outrage. I don't care if you're offended by something. Nowhere are you guaranteed the right to not be offended. Shut up and go away.
But we have the right to express our opinion and if you put it on the web you are inviting us to express it. See how that works?
Were they acting because of hate or prejudice? Probably not; just having fun. Too many people are just too sensitive and should just get over it and get over themselves.
I thought we had free speech in this country.
Speech has consequences and you have to accept those consequences. And when you post something on the web you are inviting people to tell you how they feel about what you said. Don't want the heat don't post the pic.
You may agree or you may disagree with what they said, but they have a right to say it without being vilified for it. Political correctness suppresses and discourages speech. Discussing it is one thing. Screaming about it is another thing. You seem to be saying you cannot parody someone with facing consequences, but there is a much greater consequence for all of us in crushing views or parodies as being incorrect. This is how the slow slide to tyranny starts.
Moral of the story...if you go to a themed party, do NOT take pictures/video and post them to the interwebs.
Funny for the lawn mowing part, but pretty inaccurate in the smoking it part. Since when have Mexicans been renowned for smoking weed ? Jamaicans, Trinidadians, sure, but Mexicans ?
Maybe if they just declared every Dec. 7th International Sushi Day.
But....what if that guy actually knew Albert Pujols, and he DID cut his lawn?
Very funny pic of the sorority girls. It's nice to have a little harmless fun in college. I have always hated PC folks, such a kill joy over non-issues.
It was sorority babes. Wasn't it impressive enough that they spelled the signs correctly?
People need to lighten-up, and stop being so thin-skinned! It was all in fun. I'm from the South, and I embrace the unflattering stereotypes people have against us...because THEY have their own flaws too.
I agree with HM8432, lighten up people.
And I am very impressed everything is spelled correctly.
I normally hate the grammar police but i had to laugh at this one. "Some said it perpetrated stereotypes....."
Well, employing "stereotypes," i.e., making truthful observations, is practically illegal nowadays, so "perpetrating" pretty much gets it right.
Sorority Girls having fun? At Penn State yet?
I and every other Hispanic on the planet would love to trim their begonias.
Insensitive AND fun; my favorite combination! I know, I know: you are so much better than me because you don't find that picture funny. Glad to know it. Have a great life.
Freaking hilarious. And certainly no more offensive, and certainly far truer, than toothless, sister-banging redneck stereotypes.
Yes we should question this...because sometimes racism is hilarious!! oh wait....no....yes? no?
The inability of mestizo/Indios to build/run a civilized society is hilarious.
A lot of time younger people need guidance on what the true meaning of how their actions come across to the rest of the world. Prince Harry dressing up as a Nazi comes to mind.
It was harmless fun until they made the signs....But I don't think hispanics really care, we're used to being made of by white, and black...oops, I mean African Americans. Funny, I could Imagine the conversations about this themed party were not light hearted at all, I could imagine a lot of racist and hate remarks were made. I personally am offended, and as for the sell out Mexicans who don't care, that's truly sad. Funny, This would of made bigger news if the signs read; "Will work for fried chicken and watermelon, and We don't earn money, we steal money!" Funny how most of these guys probably were doing drugs at this party, and what race provides all the drugs to whites, blacks, Asians and all other races? Latinos do, and we're still out in the fields harvesting your fruits and vegetables for under minimum wage. Last I checked to, there are more white and African Americans on welfare than Mexicans!
You'd think *one* of those sorority girls would've waved a red flag. Maybe it's a St. College thing, or maybe my Mexican compadres who laughed the picture off. ~ Those Chi-Omega women aren't very bright.
In America, taking offense has become an art-form. Millions of people just salivating for an opporftunity to become offended.
I agree completely! Thank you! And you forgot to mention, can't wait for a lawsuit!
Very well said. Seems that no one has a sense of humour anymore.
When you post something on the web you have invited everyone in the world to comment on it. Just because you don't like the comments doesn't change the fact they sent out the invite.
Stay classy Penn State
Who cares.. Get a life people. When is the race card going to end? OMG, a white person bought tortillas, how culturally insensitive! What about a Hispanic person wearing a pair of Levi's?
Picture: several old white men, each with an arm around a pre-adolescent boy. Caption: "Penn State, where young boys are welcome with open arms and zippers". Just harmless fun, right?
Oh what pictures one dares to weave when hind-sighted venues on dares to deceive! Your mixing lemons with melons my friendly cosmonaut wanna be! :-)
Hey! Lighten up! Just fun right?
Really you think dressing up as Mexicans is as offensive as dressing up as rapists?
The picture (old white men with young boys) is not offensive. Like the sorority pic, its the captions that make it offensive.
That's hilarious! I gotta throw a theme party.
In the eternal word of Sgt Hulka: "Lighten Up Francis!"
Neither offensive nor funny. Some of those girls look pretty hot but it might just be because the picture is a little fuzzy. Great story though.
Everyone is so sensitive. Of course, if they were making fun of white males it would have been okay to the university and liberals.....
They posted it on the web and that is an invitation for everyone in the world to comment on it. Not liking the comments doesn't change the fact they put it out there and the world is free to tell them what they think.
Fun? Yes, Fun in the eyes of race baiters? Yes. You know why? Because race baiters look for any opportunity they can find to spit their gall. And that then is THEIR fun. This country has proven that by playing the race card you can win presidential elections, so why not use a little of that power to destroy the fun that a couple of school girls have?
Doubt you would care if they made fun of whites, the only group it's ok to make fun of today...
It's the girls who put it up for the world to see and comment on so they can't complain when the world takes them up on their invitation.
There's nothing wrong with the picture or the sentiment. What is foolish is that they posted it online. They should've known people would be (irrationally) offended by this, and that nothing good could come of it
And the fact that these are young women that grew up with the Net and Social Media must know that postings will follow you forever and still put it up there should be an indication they aren't the brightest lights on the porch.
When Cheech and Chong did it, it was funny. When white girls do it, it is racist.and insensitive. So what if they offended a few people who are hypersensitive. I've had racist things said about my race and I take it in stride. Get over it. We don't need to apologize for everything we do.
Some of you ignore this country's history as it relates to the treatment, of some white people perpetrated against various minority groups. If your from an ethnic group that has not been targeted, historically, by discrimination and stereotypes, then you do not understand. This is offensive and some of you need to get over ignoring your nations past.
Since when does a well done photo of women acting out their dreams of pretending give rise to ethnic cleansing?
Virtually every ethnicity has been targeted at one point or another. That being said, being of an ethnicity that is constantly targeted and stereotyped, this doesn't affect me in any way. If you don't get this, and grasp the concept of just letting it go when it is all in good fun and clearly not meant as a harmful racial statement, then I guess YOU do not understand.
Alex, get your vocabulary straight man: I mentioned nothing of being racist, I simply stated that it was a stereotype. Look the terms up yourself. There is a big difference between being racist and stereotyping. That is unless you choose to bring up racism, that is another concept. It appears that the sorority women in the photo are stereotyping; if some of them are racist then maybe they can respond to that question.
They chose to post it on the Net and therefore invited the world to comment on it. Can't blame the world for taking them up on their invite.
Get over it! In my minds eye, they are all very cute, and this is definitely not news. This is just a group of college students having fun at a Halloween party. I'm half Polish. I grew up with more Polish jokes thrown at me than you can shake a stick at. Wow! And imagine, I survived it all. I've been to Halloween parties where people dress up in all kinds of different outfits, including men in womens dresses. So what! It's supposed to be fun, it's Halloween. Quit making something political out of everything, or pretty soon, we'll be a country of nothing but stone faces without expression, the walking dead.
Oh, don't worry. They'll still have a bunch of activist lawyers come over and enforce a "no sombrero" policy. No more Cinco de Mayo parties will be allowed on campus, and incoming freshman will now be required to attend extra "cultural sensitivity" seminars.
But a Catholic priest costume with a built-in erec*ion at a Halloween party won't even make the school paper.
Lighten up people! They were just a group
It was all good college fun! have a joint and relax everyone. Geez....these girls did nothing wrong. People really need to lighten up! It was a Halloween theme party for crying out loud. Every nationality has been poked fun so give me a damn break here and get off your high horse to those who are "offended". Get a Life.
I will do a Murica themed party, I will put flour on my face, so I can be white, I will wear a shirt with a McDonalds logo on it and I put padding inside my shirt just to make the impression I am obese and I'll bring an R-15 to protect myself from anything that isn't American.
And that would be hilarious! – Some white guy
Our country is 16 trillion dollars in debt. People are starving in Africa. People are dying in Syria. Iran is trying to get a nuclear bomb. Should we report real news? Nah lets just talk about girls dressing up like Mexicans for a party and see who gets their feelings hurt.
Poking fun at another culture is one thing. The sombreros and mustaches are a caricature tribute to the old Mexican cowboys.
The sign about smoking weed and mowing lawns is outrageously bigoted, offensive, and rude. The entire sorority should be put on probation and have mandatory sensitivity training and/or a class in sociology. They are morons.
LOL "Land of the Free"
Allow them a freedom. It is their business, it is not really offensive. Smoking weed is legal is some states and if its not in your state it should be.
Good answer Scott.
I think you missed the whole point of that statement. It's not the weed or beer that's offensive, it's the "mowing the lawn" bit. They all could've brought in a painted Tijuana donkey and a cactus shaped tequila dispenser set up next to the burrito cart and it wouldn't have been offensive. It's the signs that are troublesome I think.
Don't call them morons. Thats offensive and rude.
the the smoking weed and drinking beer obviously has to do with college kids. guess what a lot of landscaping companies employ hispanics. calm down its college kids having fun at a theme party...next week they will have a pimp and hoes party for you to be upset about
Funny thing those signs. I kind of felt it was the women's wanting for their own willingness to mow lawns for beer and weed. But I digress and am wrong for thinking women in costumes portraying another ethnicity are likewise portraying said ethnicity being drunks and potheads! If only for to dream a dreamt of dreaming away the dreams of a lifetime of dreamy dreams for the betterment of dreaming the dreams does one want to be the dream's dreamer!
15 years ago, nobody would've known about this picture being taken outside of that group of girls, and nobody would've been offended. This is because News Channels used to cover actual news. Now they cover sorority theme parties they randomly find while surfing twitter. deplorable CNN.
Yes, I said QQ moar.
Americans have become too sensitive to every slight.
Those girls are dressed as Mexicans from a bygone era. If there really was a racist intent, they would be dressing like the cholos and cholas you find in East L.A.
I'm white, and I am going to start a "Back to Europe" movement for my white brothers and sisters whom were offended by this article, or the fact that's it's not a white USA anymore. Last Halloween I dressed up as Shiva, the Indian god. My Indian friends were OK, until I did the accent. There is a line, and anyone can cross it. Or worse, have their intentions misunderstood. Let's do what REAL AMERICANS DO–Celebrate our diversity and differences. Make friends of all "persuasions" and love life. No, I'm wrong. That's what hippies do.
It is offensive.
You are right dressing like Mexicans is offensive so we should cancel cinch de mayo. Also those signs could hurt somebody's feeling so we should basically cancel any show on comedy central.
Those signs are not funny. They are bigotted.
What if they were all in black face, wearing hair nets, fake fat bellies, and had signs that said "I Have kids for more welfare money" and "Will work for Chicken and Watermelon". They are perpetuating an inaccurate and very very prejudice stereotype. I personally am not offended. I want no reparations from their idiocy. I just want them to be reminded that they are prejudice morons who have done something that would get many adults fired from their jobs.
Well first, you should spell Cinco de Mayo correctly, that might help. If you are of Mexican descent then it is fine. If you are not and began to mimic a culture then it is wrong. I also believe that some shows should be cancelled on Comedy Central. If only our dreams could come true.
You really get upset about white people wearing sombreros for Cinco de Mayo or those girls dressing up for halloween? That is really pathetic.
Sorry for misspelling Cinco
It's freakin hilarious man.........
Wish I would have thought of it man
Or how about this. Students from say, Grambling State or something (a mostly black school), have a 'white party' where they wear white face, carrying signs about "we're ignorant white people, we have everything handed to us" or something along those lines. Even if it doesn't outright offend you, I think you would be lying through your teeth if you didn't even feel a twinge of uneasiness, or an unkind thought to shoot back. But somehow, this is different. Again, for me personally, the costumes are not the problem, it's the signs.
Young and vivacious women need some jovial brevity in their life and their wanting to make "lite" fun of Mexicans with some signs pushing for weed and getting high seems to me to be their cat's meow! People who tend to read into issues are worse than the issues they read into! Get real and learn how to laugh at things will you? I did and I'm none the worse off!
I think plenty of people mock white people as red neck hicks. I mean look at how people mock the GOP: Nothing but a bunch of old white angry white men. It's not true for all GOP members, but It's a stereotype. And this may not be "PC" enough for you but stereotypes exist because they are generally true.
The thing is, I don't have a problem with the costumes, I don't have a problem with the signs themselves. I have a problem that they were stupid enough to post it online even though it was a sanctioned sorority event. If this were a random group of Penn State students, not that big of a deal. If this had happened and there were pictures taken and shared amongst friends, whatever. But to post it somewhere where everyone can see is a clear lack of judgement. And believe me, I know how to laugh at myself. In fact, I'll tell you one of my favorite anecdotes that I tell my close friends, it always puts them off. And I can tell this since I can tell it behind a veil of internet anonymity.
"I was molested as a kid and last year my mom and stepdad (the one who molested me) and I were at the mall and it was my birthday. They decided to pay for like one of those 20 minute massages for me to enjoy. Anyway, the guy who started massaging me was really rough and I started to feel kindof uncomfortable. And honestly, the very first thought that popped into my head while this was happening was 'Man, this brings me back to my childhood.'" My friends tend to be more horrified than anything but I always find it hilarious.
So, don't tell me I don't know how to make fun of myself.
I am Hispanic and I think this is a load of crap. Why would anyone get offended at this. What I do get offended at though is people saying to go back across the Rio Grande and all that stuff. Just because one is Hispanic, doesn't mean they have to go back to Mexico if they don't like racists. This stuff is just a bunch of girls having fun! I bet if anyone had one of those cute girls in a sarape and sombrero walk up and say, "Hey Chico, come here and take me home." You wouldn't get offended. I know I wouldn't!!!!!! Ay caramba!!!
Think of it this way: what if all painted their faces black?
We'd all have black faces then wouldn't we?
I can't imagine there being any sort of outrage at a group of people dressing "American", nor would I find it offensive. Or like a previous commentator noticed, people dress up as Irish stereotypes every St Patrick's Day, yet no one seems to mind. Certain "groups" seem to have some sort of immunity.
On Saint Patricks day people dress in green. What race is that belittling? The Irish are whites from Ireland...no minority puts on white paint to be just like them.
Have you seen the movie 'White Chicks'? starring the Wayans brothers. Please tell me why this is okay again. If two white comedians made a comedy called 'Black Chicks' ya think anyone would cry foul? Yeah, just maybe??
The tradition of getting black out drunk on St. Patricks day perpetuates the stereo type that Irish people are alcoholics.
Now a kid, who is completely American and has done no wrong, may be suspected of being a drunk and a boxer by a would-be employer just because he has red hair and his last name is O'Malley.
The same could be said for a Juan Gonzales who applied for a job, a would be employer may think back to this picture and laugh at the idea that many mexicans are pot heads and they do lawn work. Now in the interview he already has an expectation of Juan that may be 100% false.
what does "American" dress look like, pray tell?
It's any piece of clothing made for pennies in a foreign country and then marked up in price 4000%.
So, a group of Mexicans from Mexico have an 'American party' and hold signs that say "this fat stupid American pig wants beer" or something and you're not even a little bit uncomfortable?
Sammie oh Sam!
Ever see the movie with John Belushi where they threw a toga party? Or how about the movie starring once again Johnny boy in 1941? Cheech Marion and Tommy Chung in "Up iin Smoke" is also one of my favorite shows! Political correctness should not be a university's frat guidelines! After all, they are still yet young at heart are they not? They have the rest of their lives to become case hardened politically corrected subversives! Let them live free at least for now!
No, because I don't get offended every time someone looks at me the wrong way. If you're that insecure that you can't take someone making fun of your ethnicity or nationality, then that's your problem...
Actually, I have this friend who I've known for almost 10 years. I literally cannot remember the last time that I have seen him that he hasn't made a joke about my Mexican-ness. And I'm not offended, I laugh. Difference being, that this guy knows me and I know where the joke is coming from. Animal House is a movie starring funny people. I don't know these girls, so how are they getting the funny across? I'm not saying they're racists, I'm not saying it was malicious, I'm saying they deserve a slap on the wrist for being idiotic about this.
I sell sombreros and I find this awesome. I need to retarget my market. Going to UPenn ...
Seriously, leave the girls alone! I am Hispanic, y si lo dudas hijo de madre, te rompo la cola (I am not offended at all). Salud!!
HEY! I'm Canadian, how do you think I feel. Oh poor pitiful me!
Question, If it was a picture of a bunch of white guys instead of a bunch of attractive girls, would it be offensive to more people?
Not with my daughter scenarios seems to be a bigoted flaw of many mothers who just can't fathom the jovial brevity of their daughters making school play with their friends! (Especially if they declare weed and beer to be their choice fruits!)
Wah! Wah! How utterly asinine, to raise a furor over something as meaningless as this. This "political correctness" bs has got to stop!
Was this photo meant in good humor? Yes. Was it meant to be harmful? No, of course not. But that doesn't mean it's fun and harmless. Just because something is meant to be funny doesn't mean it's okay. Even the fact that some Hispanics, as quoted in the article, weren't personally offended doesn't mean it's okay.
The problem with this photo is that it perpetuates the extremely harmful and offensive stereotype that all Hispanics are lazy, backwards, no-good, pot-smoking immigrants. Making "Mexican" a costume dehumanizes millions of people, and flattens their rich and lively culture to a sombrero and colorful poncho.
I sincerely hope that these girls, as well anyone else who doesn't think this photo is problematic, would educate themselves on cultural sensitivity.
You need to watch some Jay Leno and the guy that follows Jay. They are a hoot! Probably past your bedtime though. Oh well. What is really wrong with being jovial in such as you would think being an atrocious act of sublime brevity and sheer foolery? Take a toke and this time INHALE!
Wasn't news a few days ago, it's not news now.
Seriously!! I bet if it wasn't Penn State it wouldn't even been posted. So many, many worse university pictures out there. Of course pick this one. I believe God loves all ethnic groups. Leave the poor kids alone.
I'm offended by people that get offended.
Fine. Just don't go throwing a party where the theme is "come as your favorite offended person" and take a photo of it for the web and you won't ever be the subject of an article like this.
This should never have become a national story, what is the story here? College kids being dumb? That definitely doesn't happen anywhere else in the country I'm sure!!! This is just a cheap shot at PSU and the media just taking advantage of an opportunity to make them look bad. This kind of stuff happens all the time everywhere in the country and it never makes it out of the local news area.
Not trying to say the photo wasn't inappropriate, just not worthy of national news.
I'm glad the two Latinos spoke up and said it was no big deal, I'm also Latina and I agree with them. Halloween stores sell those costumes in LA, do you know how many Americans from Mexican descent live here? No one has ever complained about it. The two girls with the signs are potheads, I'm sure their parents are proud. Other than that, the Media is overreacting yet again.
BTW I went out for Cinco de Mayo and my Coronas were served wearing the same outfit. Where was the outrage?
It's the signs that I think are actually offensive. They all could've been riding donkeys that did hat dances carrying saddlebags of beans and rice with a trailer full of tacos in tow and I wouldn't have thought much of it. But the signs I think were a bit much.
I agree, the signs were in poor taste. On top of that they look stupid announcing to the world that they are potheads and will mow grass for weed. In a few years they will be looking for jobs and this is what will pop up during the background check.
I agree- there are so many truely offensive things to be outraged about. A bunch of sorority girls having fun. Who cares?
Now that is offensive. This group may not have meant it but that doesn't mean it isn't racist or offensive. Many folks in the south in the 50-60s didn't think they were offensive or racist at the time. This is a case of a group being insensitive and really not caring how a possibly offended group of people would receive it.
To anyone who thinks this is not offensive ask yourself this, if the same thing can be done in public without any feeling of embarrassment or fear, than you are right the rest of us are overreacting. However, I doubt these girls would have dared and thus, they knew what they were doing was insensitive. They are getting what they deserve; a reality check!
I take it you never saw "Up In Smoke" then? Silly person for not wanting to let a frat act up as in being jovial! :-) :-( :-)
For all those of you that find this offensive, shocking and outrageous, I have to ask where has your outrage been for all of these untold years while I-95 (north and south) has been littered with the ridiculous, inane,and just plain stupid billboards advertising the establishment South of the Border featuring Pedro in every stereotypical scenario one can imagine? This is okay because it is a commercial enterprise, apparently above reproach? If both situations aren't reprehensible to you, then methinks you are more of a hypocrite than you are willing to admit.
News flash dude – it wasn't done in public. It wasn't done in class or a sporting event .... it wasn't done at a Starbucks or even at a university dining hall. It was carried out at a privately sanctioned sorority event. Granted, I wouldn't have posted it on public media ..... but that instance is more a symptom of social media than anything else.
And please, we're talking about college students just being dumb and silly as well as insensitive. A smack on the back of the head and let's get on with our lives ....
@digitalprinteronline: That's right. We should all live in mortal fear of speaking our minds and standing behind our statements regardless if it's a true conviction or just attempts at humor. /sarcasm off
You PC people make me sick.
Is this sorority getting what they deserve? Debatable. What is happening is they freely expressed themselves, and highly likely in what they thought was humorous, at least to themselves. But some political correct whackjob wants everyone to club them into submission so is trying to insinuate that this is somehow "national news".
Get over yourselves.
As Suicidal Tendencies sang, "Politically correct means tag along stupid and I don't ever tag along. I don't give a [expletive]"
No way! I'm ethnic alot of people are. This is not a ethnic insult, College hello! It takes very smart people to even get in the that school. But they are so young!
I think it's the signs that put it over the top, not the outfits. In fact, without the "will work for weed", it probably wouldn't have been an issue at all.
It's Penn-State,what do you expect?
This is the same university that allowed the serial rape of children by a perverted man.
Not true, do some research
How intelligent and sensitive of you...
Ah, a bunch of idiot sorority girls saying "haha mexicans!!" between downing shots. Yeah that's a hilarious joke, no racism intended at all- Penn state students just keep showing off their class and sophistication.
Clearly the photo was intended to be a harmless joke, it was obviously inappropriate but you are overreacting big time.
Point is, they were idiotic for posting this knowing it was a sanctioned event. They should get an event taken away from them, nothing more. Not a huge deal but the fact that they don't even get a slap on the wrist is idiocy. One thing would be just a group of students at a party, another is an official sorority event.
I don't really mind...Hey girls..got a beer for me??
What's so offensive? If they were portraying drunk Irishmen (or women) it would be okay. Just like every St. Paddy's day.
Because these people are making fun of an untrue stereotype.
I find this extremely offensive. I don't appreciate those making fun of heritage! Viva La Mexico!
maybe i am, ever consider that?
It is not really all that shocking that someone who embraces the "if you don't like it, you can get out of my county meme" would think that the internet is only in the us.
Its funny how mexicans are associated to pot and drugs, when the reason for the whole drug violences and cartel dominance in Mexico is because of american consupmption. I think its offensive because there is a lack of truth and most meixicans where sumbero's. I don't mean its offensive to Mexicans but rather Americans as it shows how ill informed and ignorant we as a society we are.
says the girl who can't even spell the word wear LMAO.
I dare to disagree sort of. American consumptions of illicit drugs such as weed and cocaine come from generational issues passed down thru societal gatherings. It is true that much of the drugs are imported from other countries Mexico is not the sole country of importing the drugs. There really should be no "war on drugs" here in the U.S.A. but rather such drugs should be a legalized business trade where thru taxation our country's economy will be a beneficiary and also our jails and prison populations would be markedly reduced thusly allowing more room to keep (in the now overcrowded systems) the more violent offenders in jail for the maximum sentence! Ya think?
It seems as though goodie two shoes wants to paint the wagon pink! What is really wrong with people who sees the cynicism over the jovial? Lighten up all! Pass the joint all around to everyone not just the frats!
Looks like a fun photo to me.
I'm hispanic.and I'd have a hard time believing that hispanics, at least in my family, would have a problem with this.... it's getting a bit ridiculous that people just can't poke a bit of fun without being criticized. Quite frankly, I think it's neat that they can do something like this and people can immediately identify the clothing, and makeup of my heritage.. even in fun. If someone is so easily offended by others poking lighthearted fun of their heritage... maybe they they are embarrassed by their roots. Leave the girls alone and find something else to get in a tizzy over.
I hear you I do! Cynicisms around this nation want to instill a civilly tempered and mind hardened will of tight rope sensitivities reigning in on "jovialisms" barring the comedic in us all!
Well I think the bigger issue is the signs. Those, I feel, were unnecessary and stupid if they were gonna post pictures. The clothing is one thing because there's not much of a way to make that a negative thing (until you put dirt on your face like the article mentioned) But if this were like the Martin Luther King Jr. party also mentioned, and there were no black people in attendance, would this be the same thing? Or a frat party themed around women where they carried signs about staying in the kitchen or making babies or not having opinions? That's the same thing and somehow I feel like people would get more offended over that. Why is that?
If the sombrero fits....
Stop the presses!!! Urgent news story!!! Kids dress up for a Halloween party!! the shame!!!
Give me a break.
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