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.
I would do the two holding the signs. I don't care about their mustaches.
Hey Seenyore, you eber notice how no one can take a fricking joke anymore? Everybody so uptight and PC that they are lost in a wilderness of complaints and worries over nothing. Everyone's an activist today.
Ethnicity is defined by being a stereotype – ALL ethnicities – Irish, Mexican, German, African etc. etc. etc. – there is not a group that exists anywhere in the world that does not have a stereotype that defines them to people that are not a part of that group.
Those upset about this need to chill!
The intent of the women in this photo was to demean, in a hateful manner, anyone of Latino heritage. By participating in the party and photo they are expressing their personal view of another group. I do not doubt that they act on these views in there daily lives by mistreating and discriminating against Latinos. This is why this photo is disgusting. Anyone who can't immediately understand this, after seeing this photo, is ignoring the obvious. The lack of stronger action by Penn State and the sorority indicate that they, in part, defend these views and are themselves racist.
no it's not because the officials are racist. it's because these students, while their actions are idiotic, are protected by Freedom of Speech, you know which doesn't just the things you agree with and find non-offensive
How do you know what their (notice the spelling) intentions were. Were you there thinking for them. You have no idea why they did what they did. In my opinion, and it's just my opinion, if someone is offended by this maybe they should take a look at themselves before they judge someone else. Does the shoe fit? Why so offended about the "weed" comments. Just because 80% of it sold here in the U.S. comes across the border from Mexico. You know, Mexico, the place where they keep finding all the heads laying around in the drug war WE in the United States caused because of our insatiable demand for weed and other drugs. It was a joke. Perhaps a bad joke but give me a break. Who hasn't told a bad joke. Even some of my "gardner" friends thought it was funny.
I think you're a bit self-centered. If people are offended, they are. Rather than say, essentially, "I'm not offended, therefore you shouldn't be" really isn't the best reasoning.
James get a life.....after that happens maybe you be taken seriously...what a joke you are.
Clearly you aren't a Latino. A few years ago, it was fashionable to put up a sign in saloons that read: no dogs or Irish. Why didn't they laugh, I wonder?
Couldn't agree more, James. Why are these women in college? They seem stupider than a sack of hair.
Sombreros, sarapes and Pancho Villa mustaches... Ok, tasteless... But hey, they're college kids... tasteless is the norm.
The signs, however, go over the line from tasteless to, if not racist, at minimum a total disregard for an entire culture and ethnicity, one that will not serve them well once they are in the "real" world, outside of their current cloistered bubble, and deal with people of all backgrounds, race, and socio-economic position.
You need to come on down to Southern California and witness the total lack of respect towards American by the majority of Latinos.... They really are the fastest growing group of bigots in the country....
I disagree, Vader. Making a stupid sign for a Halloween party is very different from harboring deep, personal feelings about something. I doubt these girls are any more racist than anyone else. In fact, you're revealing your own prejudices by inferring that.
To be honest, the very fact that they felt comfortable dressing like this and posting the picture online tells me that this wasn't something that was motivated by hatred. They thought it was funny, and they thought that they were free to share the joke without hurting anyone.
Vader, you hit the nail on the head. Absolutely agree.
Political correctness has gone way overboard. People need to have thicker skin.
America is raising a bunch of cry baby wimps.
These girls were having fun, they weren't trying to offend and if a Person of Latin background doesn't like it, we'll then don't look at it.
If we keep going this direction where everyone gets offended over everything, then soon there will be nothing.
How long will it be till people are offended to be called Americans?
Rob, it doesn't follow that being culturally and racially sensitive means everyone is offended by everything. These girls made fun of a racial group. The only reason you aren't offended is that you aren't a member of that group.
Scott, it's a pretty big stretch to presume that the only people who can feel offense at a tasteless joke must be members of a targeted minority.
And if you'd read the article, you'd notice that several Hispanic readers expressed the same opinion as Rob.
Just who is it that decides the difference between "Walk it off, you are a crybaby" and "How could someone be so unkind and insensitive?"
Sometimes words hurt for a lifetime. You must live a charmed life.
Let's face it. This goes on EVERYWHERE!
If this was any other school, this wouldn't even be news.
These girls will be our future leaders, neighbors, coworkers. And if you have a daughter, how would you feel if other kids judged her based on her ethnic heritage? (and yes, children are able to understand how their skin color affects their place in society; look up “doll test” or girl like me where African American children associated dark skin as “ugly and bad”)
One person putting on a hat, or other ethic appearance item, could be considered "A bit of fun". The entire group putting effort into gathering the costumes and then photoing and putting it online...."Over the top"
I am not offended.....I am an American first, Latin by heritage.....it's funny. I speak solely for myself. But then I grew up in the Cheech & Chong era. Get over it HATERS.....geeeeesh....if there is any backlash it's on them, NOT ME. I am successful, retired and happy!
Good for you! I wish more Americans would focus more on the American part instead of the racial makeup of themselves. It's important to know where you came from but it is far more important to know who you are.
What does it matter anyway? Penn state has enough of a fan base andalumni that they will never fully be penalized for anything. ABC/ESPN still covers their football games even after serious sanctions from the NCAA. Justice will never be served.
Aww someone got offended? Whatever will we do?!
What an over-reaction! It's a sorority! It's college students. I can tell you first hand that much worse things go on in dorms, frats, sororities, apartments and houses around all universities. And most of you did worse in college yourselves (those who went). This is the PC-police gone wild. Because they wore Mexican attire. And because they referenced pot. Leave them kids alone!
The photo was OK, the signs are what may be consider offensive.
I'm not offended by the picture, but I'm not amused either. To me it just looks like a bunch of immature, mostly-white, ignorant girls. The fact that they are all dressed the same and apparently have the same idea of what a Mexican looks like leads me to believe these girls aren't very bright or creative, and probably don't know any Mexicans. I find the lack of creativity more offensive than anything else. Come on ladies! You made it to a decent college and this is the best you can do? But it is Penn State, so...
Here's how I see it.
List of the Worst People in History:
2. Chi Omega Sorority, PSU
You obviously have no clue as to what Hitler and Stalin were like Mr. Free Speech.
Did you people NEVER watch Cheech and Chong, or Dick Gregory, or Hennie Youngmann? People have been turning ethnic stereotypes in to wry humor for time everlasting. It has been a quite effective weapon against bigotry.
No, no, no!. The people you mention are making fun of their own – nothing like these little silly girls making fun of someone they look down on. I agree though, the signs put it over the top.
I don't think you get it, the comedians you mention didn't make fun of other cultures, they make jokes about their own. I would bet that these girls have no knowledge about the Spanish culture and are invoking stereotypes to perform something they think is funny that is clearly not. At least probably not to the people they believe they are portraying.
As college students who are supposed to be intelligent, they could have come up with something better. This simply shows their ignorance. The joke is really on them.
look it up actually. Tommy Chong is NOT hispanic whatsoever. hahah
What does that even mean?
Honestly, the picture would not be that big of a deal had the two dimwits in the middle not held up those signs.
I'm usually easygoing but ... Many Latinos in college work hard and go on to great careers. If these "sorority sisters" want to be outed online as drug-using, drunk and prejudiced students, well good luck for them. I suspect they'll regret it when they graduate (unless they snag a good frat boy of a husband!)
If this had occurred at any other university, it wouldn't have been news.
Must Be In The Water! Way to follow up SanDumski Penn State!
What a bunch of wimps. Those girls had a bit of fun and if anyone was harmed, it was because they don't understand what humor is. Who knew that latinos whined so much? They are supposed to be strong people. Oh well . . . guess that's just a stereotype.
What if Latino students dressed like sorority girls and held a sign that said, "Will -- for weed and beer?" :)
Sorority girls would just join them.
"Minorities" whine about every single thing because they have discovered they get something in return when they do. Sororities are not (yet) a protected/priviledged class, so they would have no reason to feign indignance.
Now that would be funny! Let me know when the show is. OK?
Tasteless display from a bunch of immature clowns...I'm sure their parents are proud to be spending thousands so that their children can show the world how immature they are. Stupid also applies because the picture was taken using modern technology allowing the world to see....If you don't want your dirty laundry to be seen , don't hang it out for the public to see....Wait until these clowns go for an interview...the internet is forever and companies search everywhere to see prospective candidates online activities..
Was anyone honestly expecting sensitivity from students that idolize a child rapist?
This coming from a sheep who argues which war criminal president should be elected while shopping at places that have products made from child labor. Your moral compass is just so far inferior than everyone elses.
Sandusky was never idolized. Know your facts.
Not at all. They sure have a funny sense of tolerance up there in Happy Valley, don't they?
Andele! Andele! Arriba! Arriba!
Sorry, but after being married to a Mexican-American girl for 34 years, I have never seen her or any member of her family wearing a sombrero. Oh, and by the way, there are none in the house or in storage.
They have never used, distributed or trafficked in drugs. When my Mexican-American wife was a teenager, she and her two sisters were interns at the U.S. Secret Service. My father in law has a mustache, but no other member of the family has one.
So much for stereo-types.
When we saw the sorority picture, we laughed and enjoyed it.
CNN, why are you making this an issue? Do you have racism issues among the editors? Maybe you need psychiatric
As consumers, this is a non-issue!
It is embarrassing how desperate people are for attention these days. Everyone is so offended by everything! No, they aren't. They just pretend to be. There is nothing offensive about this. It's time for everyone to put on their big boy pants and stop whining. As a country, we have become a bunch of overly sensitive, attention-starved crybabies. If I were these girls I would never have apologized.
I totally agree, what a joke. We are totally becoming a nation of cry babies and politically correct retards.
Past tense please. It's already happened or we would not be reading about this nonsense.
Agree. If this was said by a comedian or on SNL or something everyone, including the people in the media, would be laughing! But some students do it and all of a sudden they are all racist. Give me a break! Minorities always make fun of white people. Sometimes racial/cultural/ethnic differences can lead to humor. People need to get over it and calm down.
If I were Latino, especially a student working hard to prepare for my career, I would be quite offended. Latinos in this country work at all types of jobs – news for these sorority "sisters." How would they feel if we stereotyped all sorority sisters and what they do for weed and beer every weekend ... ?
If this was sensitive then members of the crowd of the Montana State football game last night in Bozeman should be in trouble as well. Some were wearing sombreros and they were not Mexican.
Who cares, if you get mad over this you should probably get some meds to tone down your over-obsessive feelings
Lighten up who cares if some mexicans are offended or if some brainless americans like yall are? Go pound sand, losers! Ha!
The only losers are these girls who have publicly shown they are prejudiced and spend their college days chasing beer and weed at mom & dad's expense! :) Time for some growing up ...
Well, they are Penn State. Just because they were having fun, does not mean it is not insensitive. How can young college students in this day and age not know it could be perceived as racist and insensitive behavior is beyond me. But then, they are Penn State.
People need to grow up! Everyone is so sensitive now. Everything anyone does in public can be turned around. I can't stand penn state but it was a themed party! Get over it. Anyone can spin anything the way they want it so its time to just laugh or move on. All of us have done things people think are "insensitive"
TIme for them to grow up. Mommy and daddy may buy their weed and beer now, but they'll eventually have to get a job ... working in a multi-ethnic America. Good luck to them.
It was a picture done at a sorority like all schools do. Fraternity's too. Social media gets a grip on it and CNN posts it and people such as yourself STEREOTYPE Penn ST which makes you a overly sensitive HYPOCRITE. BUSTED!!!
I resent the one young lady you dressed up to look like an Asian. That is just down right mean.
Who REALLY cares about such a trivial matter? Give me a friggin break. I'm a 60 year old white male who has been married to a Mexican girl for thirty four years. My kids are half Mexican. I lived in Mexico for many years. We all thought the picture was funny! And discriminatory and trashing hispanics? I don't think so amigo.
What a pathetic scenario that politically correct university liberals running the school are treating it the way they have.
And by the way, as a retired employee of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, I can assure you that the majority of the illegal drugs coming into this country DO come to us from Mexican traffickers.
Maybe we should sentence these little senoritas to a couple years of "sensitivity training" so they'll never do such a horrendous thing again. And let us deprive them of their degrees as well.
Every day I thank God my degree didn't come from the pedophelia tolerant idiots who run Penn State.
"Liberals"? My college neighbor was a dyed-in-the-wool conservative Republican and could not stand prejudiced/racial humor. Yes, he was of Polish-American descent. In a multi-ethnic world I don't believe this type of "theme party" is acceptable. It paints Latinos as mowing your lawn when so many are in professional jobs, owning businesses and in skilled occupations. Imagine if they had an Arab theme party (will blow up xyz for pot and beer) or if they had dressed ip as Asian "massage parlor" girls or Jews with big noses, etc. I'm sorry, but I think there is humor and there is bad taste. Some may not find this insulting, but I do.
When I was in college, I went to a party themed "High School Cliques," and my group of friends and I dressed as mentally handicapped children, and rode a cardboard cut-out short bus into the house. This picture is nothing
Stay with what you know I guess.
Of course, it's insensitive, but it's not racist. They were just having fun, It was thoughtless, but doesn't deserve the amount of publicity it has received.
For those of you excusing this as "just college kids", these "college kids" are supposed to be our future, and if they continue to act like this, the future is going to be mighty scary.
I think what the author meant to write was, "University officials said they will not pursue disciplinary action against -WHITE- students...".
Looks like this sorority is not all white from the picture. But there certainly have poor judgment and taste ...
these stupid white girls should know better than that. but wait, these are rich stupid white girls. wait, there is an asian girl in the picture. what are you doing in the picture;you don't belong in there; the white girls will get you next.
We've become a society of "victims". It's truly pathetic.
When I saw the photo, I immediatly thought of Cheek and Chong...a couple of latinos who because rich and famous worldwide celebrities by being weed smokin mexicans.
It disgusts me that there are people so insanely overly sensitive that EVERY opportunity to play the victim is taken.
It was a joke. Get over it.
....who became rich and famous...
Chong isn't latino
It's "Cheech" Marin (not Cheek) and Tommy Chong. Cheech is Latino, but Chong is not. It this the sum total of your experience with minorities?
This was more stupid than hateful. If the spoiled kids think this was harmless fun then I invite them to come to East LA or the near-west side of Chicago dressed in the same clothes and holding the same signs.
Why would they want to go to those filthy places?
We Are Penn State!
They do not know what to do with themselves without Johhny Sandusky leading the way.
Sometimes you have to just say "big deal" and move on. This is one of those times.
My father was Scottish. You can wear a kilt and pretend all Scots do is drink Scotch Whisky and play the bag pipes. I don't care. I am proud of my scottish heratige. Everyone should be too.
'member what happened at the alamo. couple mexicans started jackin around. now they cut my lawn.
They have lawn in the trailer park? Quit lying.
I guess there are two offensive gestures here: off-color jokes against Mexicans and degrading low-skilled honest professions such as landscaping. This rich spoiled girls seem to not understand the current economic situation and the humiliation millions of people face these days who cannot find work and who man these jobs that are back breaking and low paying. These girls have every right to say what they want but they also have to deal with the backlash of their actions.
There are no offensive gestures here. Get a life! Lawn maintenance is honest work. Move on
Need a tissue? Boo hoo hoo!!
People who get offended by this sort of thing truly have no life. They need to look up in the night sky and contemplate their own insignificance. And the lamestream media like CNN make a living stirring up division in this society by making a federal case out of everything. Pathetic.
People who use phrases like "lame stream media" have no life and secretly wish they were still being breast fed by their meth addicted mother.
Actually Petey, Lilkidneys is spot on. Get over it dude. The media in these United States IS lame, and if you don't see it, YOU should go back to smoking the meth my friend. I'm Polish, let the jokes fly!!! I'm not an insensitive pansy like many apparently are.
Lighten up, folks.
Very few people will complain if these organization are integrated. They are one of the most segregationist organizations in the country but will have the gall to complain about black and Asian cultural centers.
The signs pushed it over the top from stupid and insensitive to insulting and demeaning. Certainly there were ways to have a Mexican themed party without resorting to stupid stereotypes. Cinco de Mayo, anyone? If you're smart enough to get into college, you ought to be smart enough to recognize the difference between "harmless fun" and insulting a different culture. Having said that, move on, story's done. A much more telling point will be how these women in the photo move on from here. Do they learn and grow from their mistake, or shrug and be dismissive about what they did?
They shrug & are dismissive just as I am about this whole nonsense
LOL, I think it's you, Florida Lady, that needs to learn the difference. IT WAS A JOKE!!! Go cry us a river.
So "dressing as a Pilgrim" for a Thanksgiving-themed event would also be insensitive? Then there is the Santa and his elves business. I'm sure some group is offended by that stereotype.
When I was in college...been out for 5 years now...we had a party like that every Cinco de Mayo. Everyone dressed like that and our Hispanic friends did not care. It was a great excuse to grow a mustache for a month beforehand and drink Corona or Dos Equis instead of the terrible stuff we normally did like Natty Light. Is it offensive to Greeks or Romans to have a Toga party too?
Did you even read the signs? Or the article? There is an obvious difference between wearing a sombrero and drinking Corona and holding up a sign entrenching the idea that all Mexicans are gardeners. This is an obviously false equivalency
Yes aaron, not all mexicans are gardners, but if you've looked carefully lately, you may have noticed that nearly all "gardners" (or landscapers) are mexican. And they work their tails off too. And if you study the background for the Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 1937 (or so) you will find that mexicans and other immigrants were associated with the smoking of marijuana and its ban was as much a statement about mexicans as it was marijuana.
bob: It is not the outfits they wear but the stupid and ignorant content of the signs they display.
If these girls had dressed in overalls and black-face with fried chicken in one hand and watermelon in the other, while holding a sign that says, "crack for sale", then would it cross the line?
But those Peggy commercials are really funny, as was "Balki". Eastern Europeans are okay, as long as you don't make them appear to be Jewish – that would be a problem.
It would have been harmless fun had it not been for the signs, which are offensive.
You might as well just jump off a bridge Tom, because if this is offending you there really isn't any reason to continue living your life.
And your comment, USA, is precisely why it is starting to suck.
...and if it DOESN'T offend YOU then you should reexamine yours.
You want people to jump off a bridge because they lack your insensitivity? Man, did your parents really mess you up. Shows you what happens when a trailer park mom uses meth while pregnant. I almost feel sorry for your sorry existence.
This country is really becoming lame. The people that are easily offended are the ones that are ruining it. We should just move forward with outlawing comedy, it would really reduce all of these incidents.
Come on! Its a sorority – thy are kids! its okay...its college. And since when did people expect responsible moral behaviour at a sorority party. For all you now this is typical and only now becaseu of the social media people are aware.
disclaimer: I went to Grad school at PSU
Considering one of my sorority mates "went through" the entire membership of one fraternity as sort of a challenge, I don't think this party is the most insensitive thing that sorority girls have ever done.
Another one of these -- is everybody looking for an excuse to be angry and offended? A sad way to live life.
I think this is very offensive and I am troubled both by the behavior of the students as well as the opinions of those who think that this is "no big deal". It's a very big deal, and both of these things are strong indicators that racism is alive and well in America, and deeply entrenched.
It isn't a big deal Susan. You are the one with the problem, and you are the minority, but you're ruining it for everyone else. I think it's pathetic you are unable to function knowing that some sorority that probably lives a long distance away from PSU posted a photo that you don't like. Do us a favor and stop browsing the web.
"Ruining it for everyone else?" What, you're one of the sorority girls? Afraid you can't hold your own racist party now because someone made a comment in a public forum?
Should these girls be punished? Probably not. Free speech and all that. But people acting like idiots get called out on it. That's called society. And these girls were being racist idiots, and thanks to the Internet, they've been immortalized as such.
The very people offended by this behavior are actually the most tolerant as they have put up with these lewd stereotypes and the "get over it"s for generations. We never ask you to understand why we are offended, just understand that we are and cut it out. Free country? Yes. Freedom of speech? Of course. Allow people to make jokes about my culture after my ancestors fought, bled, and died just so I could live in a country that treats "every man equal" and expect me to shut up or get out? Never going to happen.
I agree with Suck, the liberals are getting very pathetic. Don't even try to explain your angle Suck, once liberals get a "cause" in their heads, they can't drop it. They can't see others' points of view, and facts are meaningless. I could see if they used brown-face, or something that really IS racist, but wearing sombreros with funny signs, not so much. Susan, try to get over your politically correct self, mkay?
Watch the movie PCU which is what PSU has turned into apparently
The parts of the picture that cross the line are the signs. Without the signs, this is completely harmless, but the signs perpetuate a negative and false stereotype. On average, the citizens of the Unite States, on a per capita basis, consume far more drugs than the citizens of any other country on earth, so these girls are behaving like ill-informed bigots.
Its a joke what part of that do you not understand. Grow up and quit whining!
Sounds like you're the one whining, jjbs. I think you need to get your maturity in check and look up the definition of 'joke'.
What part of false stereotype do you people not understand? Those college girls consume more illegal drugs than a similarly-sized typical group of migrant laborers, and yet, here they are, mocking an entire race of people.
It's a party, a Halloween party, not a political statement. Move on. Does this mean none of these girls can ever be elected to public office? Stop the correctness, it's a party.
sometimes, people do get out of line, I used to get upset, and my dad, who was white, told me that people who make racist comments just dont know any better, I guess I feel sorry for them, me personally, I dont have time to be racist. Have a good day everyone!
Give me a break! It's just college kids having fun – whoever complained should use thier energy in other productive ways and contribute to society!
So now you are ASSuming that the people complaining are freeloaders that don't contribute to society? On the contrary, most are not a part of your 47%, but we also haven't forgotten the real history of this country and what OUR forefathers went through just so we could be having civilized discussions with people whose forefathers saw us as less than human.
In The Wake of the Sandusky Scandal? What in the world is wrong with you CNN? You think there are 100,000 people in the middle of Pennsylvania walking around thinking "gee, we can't have any fun this year. Some pervert molested guys in the sports program here over 10 years ago and we're somehow responsible."
The girls had a cool party. Sorry I missed it. CNN - I guess you're going to say next that it should have been another candlelight vigil.
This is not reporting. It's just trying to get people ticked off who are all getting along quite well without you, thank you.
Exactly John! It's the media's job in this country not to report the news, but to divide Americans against each other. When we are fighting each other, we don't see what Congress is doing to us on a daily basis.
I'm starting to get annoyed with this country. Suck it up people. I'm sure you have something better to do like go get your unemployment or welfare check out of the mail.
Political correctness is nothing more than a cop-out for weaklings who don't have the stones to call it like it is.
Is Not about freedom of Speech. Don't you get it. I guess not...
Come on, its a joke. boohoo everybody is offended over everything, grow up and stop looking for something to offend yourselves so you can whine about it. We have got to standup to the "I am poor little victim " types and not give in to their politically correct crying.
No one is playing the victim card, and just because you don't understand why a person is offended doesn't mean that it's wrong for them to feel that way. The best response any non-minority can give is, "I don't get it, but I respect how you feel about it". Sorry if you'll have to find something else to amuse yourself with.
I think this was all harmless fun. About a year ago my wife and I went to the Jimmy Stewart museum in Indiana, PA. There was a picture of Jimmy Stewart and some of his friends dressed in Mexican outfits just like the sorority. No one seems offended by the picture of Jimmy having a good time, so why go after some Penn State students doing the same thing? Why doesn’t the press go to some other campus and find some dirt there? This is a time of healing for the students and faculty of Penn State. No one has to be reminded what happened earlier this year we all know what happened.
Just because racist imagery is condoned by ignorant people doesn't mean it's not a serious problem. Stop propagating racist thinking; I'm sure you're better than that, John.
Uh Norm, pay attention. Black History Month was/IS a response to the fact that 'white' history is always emphasized, as if "blacks" and "minorities" had no part in building this nation.
BET was founded because "blacks" didn't/DON'T get equal opportunity in the "white" owned/dominated media.
Black only schools were/ARE a product/response to the fact that "blacks" were prohibited attendance at 'white" schools. Or, membership in unions; housing of their choice ( a "blacK' family was recently harassed/chased out of their home in Orange County, CA).
Racist much? White people still don't recognize their own racism. The above is a mere scratching of the surface.
... and of course whites are the only racists. Look in the mirror. You're the biggest part of the whole problem.
I am Hispanic and I really think this country is screwed if we ever get attacked on our own soil we literally have become a nation of wusses. Mowing the lawn is a terrible job! My father mowed lawns, fixed houses ...he hated it..but so did a lot of different peoples parents or grandparents.You should see the resorts in Mexico!!! they dress whites blacks yellow and red in sombreros and mustaches and take pictures! All Mexicans don't mow lawns and wear sombreros... I know that I hope most of us know that. So I just don't see the harm. I went to community college then university and I make more money in a few months than my father did in a year..! Isn't the point of this country that being poor and doing menial labor jobs sucks but we can make sure our children do a little better?All these kids are obsessed with mustaches right now I think its more about that than anything. And by the way I would have gladly done it for weed and beer back in college.
Yes, most of us do realize that many/most Mexican's don't wear sombreros. I've been to Mexico many times, and I just love the people. I actually think I like people from Mexico than from here in New York, they're far nicer. It's one of my favorite places to visit. I haven't been there in about 4 or 5 years now, as money's been tight lately, but can't wait to get back.
The lesson needed here is that people need to start ignoring what others think of them.
Our society has become so over sensitive that we now need to go in the other direction to balance things out a bit.
Likewise...I could care less what others think of my comment here and you should do the same.
I totally agree.
It's ridiculous for a lot of non-hispanics to weigh in on whether this picture was offensive!
Oh, comments are closed except to thin skinned-fools like you... not! If you can't recognize innocent humor you're part of the problem.
Cheech and Chong made a fortune playing off that sterotype! Sure it was in poor taste, but the reaction has been way over the top. I do not think for a minute think these girls are racist or in anyway believe the sterotype, they were just having fun. We have become a nation of children, we are to easily offended!
Offensive things usually are funny to some people and not others. Grow a thicker skin and move on.
I'm sure Tonto down at the casino is offended by pilgrim's last name..tough
Who cares if someone is offended. Your feelings DO NOT MATTER..get used to it..they don't
Anon, while you make a valid argument to compare white missing children versus others in main stream media, the comparison to college sorority girls and the signs they hold doesn't stick. Compare apples to apples next time. Just like this article is pointless for comparing Sandusky to these sorority girls.
As someone who carries an "EZ" last name and has darker skin, this picture is in no way offensive...This nation has become one that does nothing but complain and sue. If you don't like it so much, go back to Mexico. For me, I'm staying here.
OMG, I think the picture is darling. The stereotyping of Mexicans as siesta-loving, laid back happy people has always given me warm and fuzzies. I think "Alfred Pujols mows my lawn" is in an entirely different league – it IS offensive (and stupid to say the least). The picture above is light-hearted ribbing. I and all my black, brown, white and gay friends do it all the time. The press always goes overboard and I am not surprised anymore, sadly, that so many people buy into it without thinking seriously about the big picture.
I feel offended every time a couple talks in another language right in front of me, am I allowed to feel offended, maybe the couple is saying nice things about me... or maybe not... But where do I draw the line and just let it be?
They are saying bad things about you, but nice things about the normal people.
if you look at the faces in the picture you can probably discern from this that the ethnicity of these young women is pretty diverse and pretty well represents what America is and has become, so no, i don't find this any more than a bunch of people having a good time and celebrating the freedoms of America
The costumes where harmless enough, but the signage pushed the event over the prejudicial edge.
They forgot the sign "I am penn state"
Regarding "sensitivity" to race – political correctness has gotten us nowhere, or haven't you noticed.
Great post! All the goody two shoes have done is well, NOTHING!
It's only ever offensive when a group of white people mock/make of fun another ethnic group. But when the shoe is on the other foot, no one ever complains. It seems that every group is allowed to make fun of white people, but the same can't be said in reverse. As the old saying goes, don't dish it out if you can't take it.
People of color can do whatever they want and whites don't care.
it's a shame they can't be mature enough to do likewise.
Black history month?
Black only schools?
Tell me there wouldn't be an uproar if it was the other way around.
Hmmm...I wonder where all the politically correct whiners are on this post? *crickets*
After reading all the comments i agree. We as americans have let social and public media dictate the level of polictical correctness get way out of hand. We must now apologize to all Irish,mexicans, and blaack people. especially the Black people who never were from Africa. Labeling all Blacks as african american is offensive to those from other countries like Somolia and Panama, and Jamaca.
Hi Randy. Somolia is in Africa, which is a continent. Many blacks from Panama and Jamaica are descendants of Africans who were kidnapped and sold into slavery. I do agree with you (and so does modern journalism) that when telling stories about others, we should identify them as they wish to be identified. To me, it's important when giving your opinion to work from agreed upon facts (like Somolia being part of Africa) before you give your opinion. It's a way to have a rational conversation as well as a good way to convince people of your opinion.
I got some news for you.........we are all descendant from Africans
This is a good lesson for everyone...watch what you put onto social media.
Now, the Latin community is getting a taste of what Native Americans have endured for a long time...
The way everything is going, you can't say anything without "offending" someone. In my opinion, being politically correct means putting the right people in office.... Whoopsies, we messed up on that one!!!! KMAMF
First of all remember that USA is the biggest drug-consumer country in the world. If someone sells is because someone consume...Second: Your americans are always thinking that latinos come to your country, but, How many americans are ready to clean bathrooms, work with very low salaries, without any rights? You relay on the immigrant workers even to clean your house, because you can do it for yourself. Third: If some University in other country publishes something against American Army, or American people? How you will react?. You think that you are the first country in the world because you have money and a dirty, values-empty society ...But there are people and countries that dont have money but something that you never will have: A culture, traditions, and MORAL values.
Oh, whoopi do!
Well then, you better hide in your bunker with your God and guns. The rest of us will move on into the 21st century. I do think these girls are idiots, but they have every right to be. However, to say this isn't discriminatory is ridiculous. These girls are clearly playing up negative stereotypes of Mexicans. If you think that's OK, that says a lot about you. I wouldn't dream of telling them they can't be idiots – idiocy is celebrated in this country, anyway (look at some of the leaders the GOP have foisted upon us (not saying the Dems are much better, frankly)). Have any sort of character or integrity seems to be old-fashioned to most people. Sad.
Is it offensive because of the signs or the fact that its true? How do you not know that the girls wanted to cut grass and this is a form of advertising.What happens to the folks that work in themed restaurants aren`t they also making fun of a group of people, get over all of this nobody is offended and teach these kids that people need to put their big boy pants on! And enjoy life!
Political correctness run amok
Five years from now when all the "cupcakes" shown here are married, scattered across the country, living in the suburbs, standing on their front porch with a glass of wine in hand watching the lawn service mow the lawn, they will say to themselves "what was all the excitment about back in school"
Whatever happened to celebrating our cultural differences and that which makes us unique? How does one infer racism without context?
yes...this clearly was a celebration. im going to dress up as the kkk and celebrate white power now.
I I want to make a public apology to all Irish-Americans. I deeply regret the incident last St. Patrick's Day in which I dressed up like leprechaun and made the inference that all Irish people are drunks.
If you apologize one more time. I'll throw a beer on yer head and sock ya in the nose...
Now go get drunk laddie....
Come on folks, get serious. This is a bunch of kids acting the fool. Okay, call it what it is and move on. There isn't any reason to make a big deal out of nothing. If you're so sensitive that you are offended, you have other problems. Go deal with them and afterwards, rejoin the rest of society in seeing this, chucke a little bit and forget about it. Geez, people how big of a baby is everyone getting to be?
Yeah, and Psy only make some nice song talking about American army...Fool guy... Why such an scandal?
I find it sad that people think it is just a joke because it gives credence to other bigoted people who may use this to justify whatever unfair generalizations they have towards other ethnic minorities. Racial stigmatization goes against the very ideal that "all men are created equal". America is a multicultural society and I am proud of that. But there are increasing racial strains and images like these do not help. Instead of defending this as a joke, or telling people to be less sensitive, why not tell others to be less ignorant? When we understand each others' cultures, maybe we can more forward as a nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Look at how soft we've become! This is actually news!
Exactly – it's embarrassing to watch this constant media-driven witchhunt disguised as "cultural sensitivity"
Seriously. If these people want to be racist and carry false stereotypes into the world where they will perpetuate and spread them as mothers, hiring managers, and consumers, who are we to call them out on on it?
All I could think of when I saw this is "this is the future of the USA???" Are these kids ignorant or just stupid? They need to start thinking like their in the real world when posting photos that the world can see -DUUUUH
Yes....God forbid anyone ever has any fun on your watch.
Get over yourself.
This is news?
There is no "humor" or "fun" in this photo. It's a picture of a group of misinformed, ignorant, thoughtless kids, who made a very public mistake.
I hope the girls learn something about diversity, acceptance, and propriety from this experience...
Your comparison to a comedy show is way off. Many comedians poke fun at prejudices in an effort to break those prejudices down. There is none of that in the sorority photo. And as for the comedians who do rely on offensive stereotypes: they deserve our ire, just like the girls in this photo do.
What happened to free speech. You can't say anything anymore without offending someone.
This isn't about free speech (they can and did exercise this right) but it is all about stupidity!!
Regardless, this really shouldn't be news. They are "kids" compared to the rest of us. Years from now when they grow up they will all look at this picture and say "WOW, were we stupid or what".
"Stupidity" is in the eye of the beholder.
Uh no, Norm. By definition, stupidity is in the brain of the stupid person.
There's a problem when you start to require "apologies" or sanctions for free speech. That's what this article alludes to.
This is clearly offensive.
Most people agree that the racist-stereotype Halloween costumes are in poor taste and no longer acceptable– and that includes Native American costumes, white hillbilly costumes, drunken Irishman costumes, etc. Similarly, universities everywhere are ridding themselves of offensive mascots and team names. Why should these kids get off the hook, morally, just because they're college students?
It is counterproductive and damaging to condone the actions of these kids. Our society is moving forward, progressing toward a more inclusive culture that does not strive to put down certain groups. Racist jokes are an embarrassment from our society's past.
And for those of you who are comparing this photo to comedy shows: Try again. The majority of comedians poke fun at those who hold prejudiced views; they are not perpetuating stereotypes, like these sorority girls are, but instead, are undermining stereotypes and breaking them down.
It doesn't matter if these girls meant this photo to be a funny little joke. It's not funny to tear down an entire culture with ugly, misinformed stereotypes. Those signs– they were disgusting. I hope the girls in the photo are embarrassed; I sure am.,,
Your claim that this is offensive offends me. Intolerance should not be tolerated.
Right on Mike! People should just take a chill pill. I do believe political correctness is damaging this country. We can have an "inclusive culture" when people stop taking things so personally. All you have to do is take a second, think, and then react rationally, not emotionally. Did these girls go out of their way to make Mexicans feel bad for being Mexican? I doubt it.
"most people"? who are you to state what "most people" agree or disagree to. You should more properly start your rant with "i believe..." since clearly you really have no idea what the rest of us believe.
I find people dressed as Leprechauns on St. Patty's Day offensive too. As a proud white Irish American, I have been lobbying for the stereotypes to end every year. But to no avail, March 17 comes and goes and I am left with a nauseous taste in my mouth. Well, possibly from the multiple beers my Mexican friend bought me (dressed as a Leprechaun).
I was raised a hillbilly and we are constantly laughed at. Doesn't offend me. I'm proud of my hillbilly heritage. Been to lots of parties where there was a hilly theme and I had a great time. If you get offended because people poke fun at you for your heritage then maybe you have some shame about it.
Are you seriously blaming the *victims* of racism for being offended by prejudiced remarks?!? Wow...
I would be FURIOUS if my children or my students were part of a photo like that one.
As a society, we are progressing toward a more inclusive, diverse culture. Racist "jokes" (which are just semi-socially-acceptable ways to express a person's prejudices) are an embarrassment from the past.
Paul, exactly when did HILLBILLY become an ethnic group? I mean, really? They gave you Duck Dynasty and Honey Boo Boo, now you want your own ethnic group?!! I knew we should have stopped with Jed Clampett.
It is all fun and games unless people take it seriously. As someone from Appalachia, I am not, nor have I ever been, a "hillbilly". Yes, my family was a coal mining family - but they a bunch of inbred imbeciles like people portray us. When I went to Governor's school in high school, my roommate actually asked me if I had indoor plumbing. That was in 1987, for heaven's sake. She actually thought I used an outhouse. When I got to college, I was told by a guy that he had never met a smart person with a southern accent before.
The trouble with stereotypes is that ignorant people accept them as truths. You can bet that those who believe them will one day be looking at a resume and making hiring decisions based upon those stereotypes.
Dressing up wasn't the part that I found offensive. The signs showed that clearly these girls were ignorant. If they want stereotypes, in my college the Chi Omegas in my school were stereotyped as a bunch of loose alcoholics. Would they want every guy they meet to assume that all they needed were a few beers as payment for services rendered? Stereotypes do have real life consequences. Most people who say they are "just joking" really aren't. They are just cowardly bullies who don't have the guts to stand up and face the consequences of their actions or words.
I think Penn State has bigger issues than this...... considering all that happened.... give me a break! College humor, people.
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