Penn State sorority photo: Insensitive or just fun?
Chi Omega apologized for this photo after some found it offensive.
December 7th, 2012
06:17 PM ET

Penn State sorority photo: Insensitive or just fun?

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.

Posted by
Filed under: Diversity • Ethnicity • Latino in America • What we think
soundoff (634 Responses)
  1. Cambridge Ray

    This is the general rule: As long as there is no HATRED, it cannot possibly be racist and therefore offensive.

    If SNL can do, so can the students and so can the rest of us.

    Additionally: The topic is very serious and deserves to be explored, chronicled, debated, etc.

    If you don't like this type of article, CLICK ELSEWHERE.

    January 9, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jackjohn

    I think its funny. would be even funnier if they added gays and lesbians to it. anyone offended by it should take a chill pill. get over it

    January 9, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. officeprank

    I'm offended that people could be offended by something that is obviously a joke. Why do people laugh at White jokes, Black jokes, Mexican Jokes, {insert group here} jokes? It's because they are poking fun at stereotypes and most "normal" people can laugh at them because they are so far out there that it's funny.

    I think people "offended" by this stuff need to turn off the TV, computer, IPAD, etc and learn to live and enjoy life. It's way to short to be so easily bothered by something that is so stupid.

    January 4, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • r belin

      ....to the funny person so far out there, ?

      January 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      I agree!!

      May 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tddthejourney

    I'm offended that people could be offended by something that is obviously a joke. Why do people laugh at White jokes, Black jokes, Mexican Jokes, {insert group here} jokes? It's because they are poking fun at stereotypes and most "normal" people can laugh at them because they are so far out there that it's funny.

    I think people "offended" by this stuff need to turn off the TV, computer, IPAD, etc and learn to live and enjoy life. It's way to short to be so easily bothered by something that is so stupid.

    January 4, 2013 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jackson Miles

      It's called racism.

      January 13, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. PWZ

    The Media create this unrealistic super-diverse utopia universe that doesn't actually exist anywhere, and members of our society are expected to leave their homes every day and treat each other as if we do not have different personal heritage, culture, and upbringings. It is a great ideal, but we are at least a couple hundred years from fully realizing it. Take away a person's safe space to vent their frustrations with disillusion and disorientation, and the person will slowly lose his or her sanity. One step at a time, America. One step at a time.

    January 4, 2013 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • r belin

      ...i believe the woman up there eaaarlier was talking about 'integration' , the end of education

      January 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. curious

    as long as there is at least one minority taking part, it's not offensive. i spotted at least 2

    January 2, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • r belin

      ..ooh, hoo, eagle eyes !

      January 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. golenny

    Um, You think Notre Dame or Slippery Rock or Harvarrd are any better? Or are you one of those Liberty University idiots that think drinking doesn't happen anywhere except on secular campuses. Naive parents should be your name.

    January 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frill Artist

    Shocker. College students do dumb things. Who would have thought?

    January 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. c-dawg

    i find the signs WAY more offensive than the costumes – the association wasn't necessary. the costumes have been done before, esp. for cinco de mayo. all i'm saying is that fights have been started with fewer words.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • JamesOnThePotomac

      More "yellow" journalism from CNN

      January 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Truth Sayer

    i can certainly see how some MIGHT be offended. but you have to take into account the ages and maturity level of the sorority mindset. even people who make straight A's can do some stupid teenage stuff.

    in otherwords.....GET OVER IT

    December 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Queen Zuga

    REALLY???!!!! This oversensitive world is out of control. There should be certain bounderies but a few young folks having a costume party is not offensive. Nor are the signs. In a world where we are raising our children with "reality shows" and convincing them "everybody is a winner" is WRONG. You are setting the young generation up for failure if you do not allow them to express themselves. I am hispanic and I am NOT offended by this photo. Get real folks, worry about the hard stuff, the true offensive things in life, like child molestation and child killings, and also about how we are raising our young folks. This is why more of them are commiting suicide and rampanting with weapons and bullying others. They are not being taught to have fun and relax about it. When they do something really wrong, a good paddle on the behind is in order.

    December 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Obama jr.

    Now what would really make it insensitive is if they had guns that they bought from the atf.

    December 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike hunt

      yes - that Fast and Furious program started by the Bush administration was awful

      December 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |

    the degree awarded most often at Penn State is a BAC (blood alcohol content)

    December 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |

    how many of those girls have weed in their rooms in the drawer with their Plan B -- Parents if you send your daughters to Penn State be sure to send Plan B

    December 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bbooingbbooing

    What? Dumb sorority girls? Who would have thought?

    December 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  16. booooowhooooo

    bravo girls !!!!!

    December 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Culpepper

    Just reinforces the long held theory that Sororities and Fraternities exist for the simple people of bringing together those college students who just can't be big enough jerks on their own

    December 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Tutuvabene

    I see an Asian and an African-American in the photo. They are, doubtless, traitors to their minorities for perpetuating "stereotypes."

    December 27, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • yo yo

      i wonder what will happen when they start doing the chinky eye pose. will that asian girl be there laughing?

      January 13, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Tutuvabene

    I guess the only theme party anyone can have these days that won't be offensive to anyone is for everyone to dress like gnomes or teletubbies with nondescript uniform color clothing and shaved hair. And, of course don't smile for the picture.

    December 27, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      A gnome!!! Are you trying to offend midgets and height-challenged groups of people??? How can you live with yourself!?!?!?

      December 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ScepticStill

      I'm with David, you're a prime target for the campaign for equal heights

      December 28, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Victor Gramm

      You're an idiot and I never want to be invited to your kind of party. You guys all gather around and wear white cloaks, or has that tradition passed?
      Also, I know this may not be YOUR Jesus, but doesn't it kinda bother you that it's okay to make fun of culture of people populated with folks that share the SAME NAME AS YOUR Prophet? (I only assume you must be of the Crappy Christian variety because you don't seem to be able to reason very well. You don't seem able to differentiate "harmless fun" from the mean-spirited perpetuation of negative stereotypes that many a Crappy Christian employs to elevate themselves beyond others. Crappy Christians are more vocal than their reasoned, good-hearted counterparts.)

      December 28, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |

      Why do you feel the need to make fun of people-- we teach children that such behavior is wrong. Can't you learn

      December 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  20. andrea

    Really? A Christmas Story is running non stop and when they're in the Chinese restaurant, and the waiters misprounounce the "L", I'm not offended. I just laugh. Yes, I'm Chinese.

    December 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  21. tsadeek

    I think this fits in well with the tradition of Sandusky and Paterno. It's been there all along in all its different forms. They are Penn State.

    December 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe_Camel

      Ah ignorance is bliss

      December 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |

      At Penn State they do not give BA's they give BACs

      December 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Tincho

    I am hispanic, and I really don't find this offensive. I think it's actually kind of funny, and that's the only way to get over it. Laugh at it. If everyone is so sensitive to everything, then how will people react to the real world where nobody really cares about feelings. Anyone who is offended by this needs to relax and laugh. The only ones that should be offended are people that live what the signs say.

    December 24, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  23. forreal89

    typical liberals always whining the photo is fine relax and laugh

    December 22, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  24. AZSDFT

    SURELY there are MORE IMPORTANT things to worry about in the world today that some stupid college girls dressing up in stupid costumes with stupid signs.
    PEOPLE You need to get a life!

    December 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  25. 100% American with roots from Mexico

    Not news worthy, in fact I would asume CNN has a chief editor to review these stories before posting. Quick trying to promote division in this country with your media propaganda.

    December 22, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  26. Jackson

    Pilgrim is an idiot. Even Pilgrim notes everything is offense to someone, so what do we do stop talking for fear of offending someone. You cannot say Merry Christmas. I have also noted a drop in Happy Hanukkah, but an increase in lets not offend the Muslims. You are not complaining when someone places a million dollar bounty on a person because of something said or depicted about Mohammed. The conversation police needs to be muzzled as do those that would prevent free speach.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • hmmm

      I don't know what a speach is, but if it's free, I'll take one.

      December 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Esteban

    As a minority I do not see anything offensive about the picture. The signs are dumb, but that is just a narrow view of there world. I could be get angry, but will that fix it? We seen what blind anger does. We are having to bury 22 lives due to someones blind anger. Maybe someday we can have the picture without the comments. For now I will just keep mowing lawns and picking up after people who. Make the derogatory comments. At least I get paid

    December 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Try this!

    Picture an all black faternity, and the members are dressed up as white, middle class boys, you know people like Adam Lanza, Dylan Klebod, or Eric Harris. They're all holding assault rifles, with signs saying, "Won't Kill your kids for zit cream", or "I won't shoot if you let me play X-Box", or "Living in the suburbs is hard man, so I'm going to shoot everybody!
    Yeah, I'm sure you people who think the girls sorority picture is no big deal would still feel the same!

    December 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucy

      Good example. Sometimes it takes turning the tables for people to "get it" and i'm sure you'd hear all these people objecting loudly then it's about them.

      December 27, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • SL

      What are you talking about? Middle class suburb whites get mocked all the time.

      December 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  29. moross

    Ann Coulter must be proud

    December 14, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  30. Acuobc

    I'm So Glad That I Risk My Life Everyday For This Country And To Protect the Rights Of It's People.
    And for People Like This To Make a Mockery Of My Culture and Ethnicity just Makes it all Better

    December 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |

      are you a landscaper in the army

      December 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  31. NorskSjomann

    I am willing to bet my one and only krone that if they had dressed up as vikings and posted the picture that it wouldn't be news. Nobody would have said boo!

    December 12, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • sol

      thank you

      December 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jorge

        If they had dressed in horned helmets, worn Goretex uniforms, wielded toy machine guns, bottles of vodka, swastikas and signs saying -"Hail Breivik, Death to all non-Norwegians,"-that would have been crude, offensive and stupid, wouldn't it?

        December 14, 2012 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
    • sanantonio

      That's because there are no Vikings living today that have been negatively stereotyped. This is stereotyping in its worst and that it's from Penn State, as East coast as it gets, is outrageous. Aren't they the ones that wave their little signs "We are Penn State"? Do they mean they are proud of something when they wave those signs? Cut it any way you want to, it's racism.

      December 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      That's ridiculous. 'Viking' is not a race or a nationality. The viking angle is not and never will be valid, and I'm not sure why so many Scandinavians like to bring that up in race discussions.
      Maybe because 'beautiful women' and 'too much happiness' won't net you too many sympathy points when it comes to stereotypes. 😛
      I mean, I could bring up the drinking stereotype, but most Scandinavians I know brag about it...

      March 31, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  32. jojo

    I always get a laugh out of some of these comments. they make the news funny(ier). and I am so slow, I thought the problem Penn was having was with the weed-speak.

    December 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  33. fiftyfive55

    We don't even know how many,maybe 10 million felon illegal alien invaders just walking around our country,know one knows who they are and we get insulted by someone making a big deal out of some soroity girls having a little fun ? Priorities are definitely mixed up here.

    December 10, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Amen to that

      December 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denver_mike

      Agreed, illigal immigration is the problem, not a few girls stating there openion.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jorge

        Nope, people who didn't pay attention in English class, despectively lump all minority members together and whine about others when they don't qualify for jobs are the REAL problem in this country...

        December 11, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  34. Jorge

    I thought I'd disguise myself as a Penn State WASP last Halloween, but I couldn't find any Ward Cleaver clothes or get any little boys to dress in drag. Look at the picture, meet Penn State's 2012 batch of CEO sugar mommas. Chi Omega, the other white meat.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  35. Jeff

    They don't owe me an apology. You wanna have a themed party? Go ahead. It's a free country. If one doesn't like the theme then don't go. Again, it's a free country.

    December 10, 2012 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • forreal89

      well said

      December 22, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  36. brooke

    Ok, I'm sure it was all in good fun, but it annoys me it was some stupid, snobbish sorority that did this so I'm hoping they get more than a slap on the wrist.

    December 9, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  37. civilista

    What we do says who we are, down to each individual. This time in history calls for the best in each of us, including tomorrow's best hope, today's young people. The best "fun" this group could muster was a cheesy jibe, a snicker at the expense of people who perform the tasks U.S. citizens scorn in favor of careers in collecting welfare. Considering the cold, harsh, soulless comments above, the ladies of Chi Omega are right in tune with the times.

    December 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Dee

    No one has a sense of humor anymore!

    December 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      No, people just seemingly have nothing better to.

      December 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      As a Mexican myself, this is funny as hell. They probably shouldn't have taken the picture though. Plus its not a stereotype if they're depicted truthfully.

      December 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jenna

        It's not a stereotype if it's depicted truthfully?
        So you're telling me you walk around with a huge rainbow
        poncho and a sombrero and you have a mustache?

        December 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • BasilT

        Wow RAMON you'd put up with anything to be an "honorary" ah?

        December 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smurf

      Wonder how funny it would be if a minority fraternity did White face, with little dogs, cardigans, khakis, police officers laughing in the background and signs saying "Manual labor: Only immigrants need apply ", "Will middle manage for coffee" or "I smoke weed since I won't be drug tested" would go? This photo is not fun and perpetuates negative stereotypes and continues the divide and conquer mechanism by people with your mentality.

      December 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • hmm

        um ya, it would be hilarious. lighten up.

        December 10, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Jon

        Not having pants hanging down to the ground, speaking correctly, no police record...

        December 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  39. D optomist

    It's not the act in my opinion that was offensive. Even if you want to make racially motivated jokes you need to understand whats appropriate for mass social media, and whats appropriate for a select crowd. Regardless of where drugs come from, or whom mows your lawn, to reduce ALL mexicans to stereotypes based of mowing lawn and weed smoking can be offensive. There are MANY mexicans that dont associate themselves with anything related to weed smoking, or lawn mowing, and that is where the possible offense comes in.

    December 9, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  40. TheNiteNurse

    You have to have excellent SAT scores to enter Penn State so it's not a school for dummies. I do think we need to start educating our children early on about social media and what is approriate and not approriate. Unfortunately I also feel it's up to the schools to also teach racial sensitivity since parents seem to be cluelss.

    December 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joney

      They just ruined their future. No employer will hire racists.

      December 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dee

        Oh yeah, like that is going to happen!

        December 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • JD

        Yeah...Every HR Department around the globe will print the picture and say....Are you the girl in the 2nd row 4th from the left? Sorry...your outstanding resume is the best yet, BUT you wore a sombrero and my second cousin is half blooded Mexican who happens to cut grass. Sorry we can't hire you. Your racist! Sorry I must end the interview, my fraternity alumni are meeting tonight to engage in a toga party! Woo hoo.

        December 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Troy

        Nothing racist about it. Everyone tres to make a big deal, but when non Whites do it t's ok.

        December 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Denver_mike

        Everyone ts racist in some form. And besides truth shouldn't hurt.

        December 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Joseph

    They are college students. This is not newsworthy or new.

    December 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Evelyn Bradley

    It's disgusting. This further shows that the PSU Panhellenic & sorority system needs more oversight and review. And to think they believe they are the leaders of our future. I am so disappointed. They disgraced our school in the media & public once again.

    December 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Disgusting? Really? Embarrassing?. I got news for you Evelyn. Our young adults are in school for education. They also have lots of free time. I know at my university we had fun too. A theme party happens at schools all across the country. Today we all live under the micro"media"scope. If this happened at any other school we would not be discussing it. Its the classic "kick em while their down" syndrome on a great university being hammered opinionated fools such as yourself due to the actions on one sick individual . If you can't see the innocent fun and intent, then you are blind to reality and I can only hope you are not the future leader that replaces them.

      December 9, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  43. FicCur

    Cancel Cinco de mayo if this offends everyone. I'm 1/2 Irish and the group of us celebrates cinco de mayo every year with a trip to the local Mexican restaurant in our Sombreros and ponchos that we bought in Mexico. We also of irish decent dress up as green fools and get stupidly drunk. its never offended me when I see a drunk person of any decent dressed in a green sweater.

    December 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ri

      It's not the clothes or the sombrero, it's the signs saying "will mow lawn for beer and weed." If a drunk person was wearing some clothing associated with the Irish and a sign with an Irish Stereotype – that would be just as wrong.

      December 9, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  44. HenryMiller

    All this touchy-feely "insensitivity" nonsense! Toughen up your skins, people, whatever colour they are!

    December 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Zak

    So these kids are wearing clohing items available at every border town, and the Mexicans BEG us to buy them, but are offended we would wear them? Why is it politically incorrect to state the truth? If you are mad at the signs, guess what, most pot comes to the US through Mexico......quite being so sensitive and grow a pair!!

    December 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Monica

      Can Mexicans that buy in our shopping centers make fun of our level of literacy, or portraying us as imbeciles just because a some of our fellow citizens are uneducated... just to have fun?

      Dude! seriously??? ( compare our levels of literacy with those ones of Germany or other European countries... for sure, there are a lot hardworking people over there too)

      December 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • mayday56

      A bunch of ignorant rich kids, supported by a GOP cultist.

      December 9, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  46. ral


    December 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • JMO

      Wow! The bad publicity and bad judgement just doesn't stop at Penn State. Perhaps, they should, indeed, have their accreditation taken away. This certainly doesn't show much in the way of brain power! Wake up, folks. There is a whole world outside of Happy Valley.

      December 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Rod C. Venger

    The most offensive part of all of this is actually Penn State's response. In the response they state that, " "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"

    What Penn State is saying is that were it not for those so-called federal and state laws which they claim impart these right to us, they would have come down on the students. Penn State should maybe read the Declaration of Independence. The founders' view was that our rights were not and are not given to us by men or the government, but handed down to us by God. "Human Rights" cannot be defined by or imparted by men to the people. These right exist by the mere fact that we are human, and God's children. Penn State is behaving as if it owns the bully pulpit, saying if it weren't for those federal and state laws, ya'll'd be in trouble.

    Screw you.

    December 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • wanderstars

      God isn't real.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • amievit

        and how can you possibly prove that, you want God believing people to prove he is, you prove he isn't. I guess one day one of will be proven right.

        December 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • brian

        @amievit: it's not his job to disprove every wackjob religious claim. extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. otherwise david koresh and warren jeffs were really prophets of god and not just sick child molesters. Oh you want proof of their divine influence? I believe you need to prove that they weren't sent by god. (your own argument). While you're at it; prove the non-existence of the flying spaghetti monster. Oh you can't do that either? Well I guess I'll be enjoying eternity at His side in the kingdom of pasta enjoying the beer volcano and you'll just be suffering in endless torment because you chose the wrong god. sorry

        December 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sharky


        your comment is no different than what amievit says, but you blast amievit for asking wanderstars to prove it, yet defend wanderstars who even made the original claim that one does not exist. Amievit simply said prove it. And you think that is wrong for someone to do, YET you say amievit has to prove it. Your comment is just bias idiocy and presenting a scorching case of double standards. All amievit said was prove it to wanderstars and yet you think amievit is wrong, yet you basically say amievit has to prove it.

        December 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • brian

        @Sharky – Wooosh... It's satire. That was ALL satire and you completely missed the point. The difference you have both missed is between proving something and DISproving something. FSM, Russell's Teapot, Invisible Pink Unicorn are satirical examples of things you can not disprove. If you had tried, maybe you would realize that. Don't worry though that doesn't make them true and that's the point! Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, otherwise every crazy, sick, thing that someone can claim would be true! Jeffs and Koresh are two examples of men making extraordinary claims with ZERO evidence to prove it. It is NOT up to the rest of us to disprove it!

        December 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tasha

        God is real. And I hope He has mercy on your soul on the day of Judgement.

        December 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • brian

        @Tasha – Which god? Thor? Zeus? Odin? Xenu? Is he the guy who gives aids to children every day? Cancer? Is he the god who so inspired people to fly jets into buildings in 2001? Would this be the same god your parents happened to teach you about or one of the thousands you haven't heard of?

        December 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timmy

      A very interesting, ranting tangent you've discovered.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      yeah, umm wow. If it weren't for these "so-called" laws being in place, I guess we would have to use the bible as our sole source of legal guidance which says that slavery is a-okay and that women shouldn't hold authority over men or, apparently, white people can't dress up in stereotypical clothes of an ethnic minority for lulz because that might hurt someone's feelings; that was even a commandment, wasn't it? Right after the 'lord's name in vain' one. And CERTAINLY not if those clothes are made of mixed fibers!! That's a one way trip straight to hell for sure! (I know that one's in there.)

      December 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Rod C

      So, If I understand you correctly, when you state: "Human Rights" cannot be defined by or imparted by men to the people, you mean that any time one person violates another person's "human rights" man (government or otherwise) can not act, we must let God decide the course of action???

      December 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Chris

    Yet every St. Patrick's Day America celebrates being Irish as being sloppy, stupid drunk. I am 100% Irish descent and it annoys the crap out of me. But what can you do? People are stupid.

    December 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharky

      My mum's side of the family is Irish, and yup you are correct in how Irish are depicted on St, Paddy's day, BUT difference is, Irish are mainly white people. Therein lays the difference.

      December 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  49. ProudPSUAlum

    I guess we shouldn't dress up in togas anymore either. We are probably offending the ancient greeks in some way. In a society where shows like Family Guy and South Park receive some of the highest ratings on television and political and religious groups can openly tell LGBT people that they should die, people really need to relax about a few girls dressing up for a themed-party. This would definitely not be an issue if it wasn't Penn State.

    December 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      Exactly! I am sure that this was not the only theme party held on a college campus last week. But Thanks to Jerry (may he have his request granted and be released into general population and then rot in the place reserved for him) every little action at PSU is being hyper scrutinized

      December 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Revolt Against PC

    The reaction of the Marxist university administrators is just what you'd expect when you live in the unfree USSA. Political correctness is a form of cultural Marxism and it is enforced with a vengeance in the USSA. Speak your mind and lose your job. Point out the truth about the perils of diversity and be shunned by all the sheeple. Do you honestly think you get an education in any of these universities anymore? All you do is pay to have some liberal lowlife brainwash your kid to hate you for being able to send them to school in the first place. Think out of the box. Encourage your kids to find an education in untraditional ways. Who needs more liberal art degrees anyway?

    December 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • amievit

      You are exactly right.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      What does that have to do with the article? It is worth considering, in this age of social media, the future consequences of actions like these. What if one of these Sorority Sisters applies for a job where the hiring manager is Hispanic? A quick Google may uncover this photo.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen Falk

      What a hilariously cliched rant against the PC police..
      You tell them..politically cliched loser guy..hahaha

      December 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • grist

      *stamps foot* I too want to be as offensive as humanly possible, but I am constantly flabbergasted by the fact that my mean words and stereotyping is met with criticism and censure! Why can't I, a member of the historically oppressive group, say what I want whenever I want without consequences? It's my God-given right to be as hateful as I can, just as Jesus wants it to be. I'm so unused to having to think of others, I just despise it when I'm made to be thoughtful and consider my actions in a historical context. WAHHHH!

      A more blatent version of you

      December 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Monica

      You probably think it was Groucho Marx

      December 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Paganguy

    Crude, insensitive practucal jokes are fun. Ha-ha-ha-ha. I take them, I give them.

    December 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  52. aash

    These 'Maxicans' may be 'Insentative' but I'd bet my last dollar that most of them speak and write the english language better than you do.

    December 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  53. mrl

    i don't care about the mexican thing... who cares if folks get overly sensitive about something... you can't make anyone happy these days... HOWEVER – if I were these kid's folks, I would be taking a birch-tree switch to their behinds for wasting my money on their tuition for being stonies

    December 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  54. alpinequeen

    So I guess the Frito Bandito is a Bozo no-no?

    December 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Penn State U: Where clothes for tats and other NCAA violations are child's play

    Penn State: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

    It's like people there just ASK the world to hate them.

    December 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  56. K.A.G.

    I seem to recall a movie called "White Girls" in which two black men dressed and were disguised as two ritz white gals. Where was the media coverage of the "insensitivity" of that movie? People went to watch that film, and laughed at it. Found it funny, or found it (as I did) a crappy movie.

    "Oh, it was just a movie. Who cares?" Exactly.

    December 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lo

      The difference is that brown and black people have not exploited, oppressed, raped, and colonized white people. And white people do not experience the effects of this racism from brown and black people. It is a matter of power.

      December 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Andrew

        Racist is racist, period. Doesn't matter what the color of the person who's doing it is. That photo is racist and so is the movie "White Chicks".

        December 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Ed

    In the old days if you said or did something stupid your hand and head were placed in a wooden stocks and you were set in the public square for all to see. Nowadays your actions are placed on the news for millions to watch.

    December 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  58. nc

    A recent study indicated that rats who wore leisure suits were twice as likely to get cancer than rats that didn't...

    December 9, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  59. GAW

    The very fact that the media focused on this event made it much worse than it really was. If it was bad in the first place.according to some. Now instead of 10,000 seeing it millions can now gawk over this. Yes the media has an agenda in all this...just guess what it is.

    December 9, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      The media wants to make money and report on stories people respond to. Look at the number of comments – this story qualifies . no other agenda here.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharky

      It is CNN, anything done by white people against other races will be of main focus. Look what happened with say Zimmerman. He is bi-racial YET CNN was quick to call him white, YET Obama is biracial but CNN says he is black.

      December 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Monica

        Some Chinese have whiter skin that us, and the fact that you wrote that Zimbabwe was left in ruins just because the white people left just prove your lack of historical understanding.
        Industrial societies are damaging the world, we still haven't sign the Kyoto protocols (do you even know what is that about???)
        If we were really congruent and coherent, people with white skin would have to go back to Europe, and we would have to leave the American continent for Native Americans. So, be tolerant and do unto others....

        December 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  60. pazke

    I don't find the costumes offensive, but I do find the signs offensive. And also a little off base. I wonder if these people even know any Mexicans. I grew up in Arizona and it wasn't the Mexican kids smoking weed. But, you know, I don't put a lot of weight on anything sorority girls do or say. They have their own stereotypes to defeat.

    December 9, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • alpinedon

      I agree with you on this one. I am Hispanic and it wouldn't have bothered me if they were just dressed up. It is the signs that really went way too far.

      December 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • LIz

        Yeah, their signs really bothered me, too, to think that the university admitted these two druggies instead of some hardworking kid who wanted to get an education and prepare for their career. Instead, these two sorority girts got a seat in their class, and they should be waiting tables and smoking their pot on their own dime. College kids have ALWAYS done stupid things, it's just that they didn't used to provide the photo evidence to the entire world. It was a party, and they wrote up some stupid signs. That's about it. If the signs represent their drug use, kick them out of the school.

        December 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Jorge

    Diversity will end this country, too many different people , all with different sensibilities. Can you say Yugoslavia?

    December 9, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • GAW

      Yes we need totalitarianism to ensure no diversity and uniformity of thought. (assuming you were being sarcastic)

      December 9, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Have you forgotten all the immigrants of the last 350 years? English, Irish, Spanish, French, Polish,Russian, Chinese, etc. Worked pretty well for US.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  62. vp

    For a group that has their integrity already sullied, this is plain moronic.

    Boycott Penn State:
    Don't send your kids.
    Don't watch them on TV

    December 9, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Claire

      Boycott... don't be silly. It's not just a university problem it's a societal problem.

      December 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • MR

      You're kidding right? Something that happens on every college campus in the US.....suddenly becomes a reason to "boycott" a university? You may want to go look in the mirror for the moron.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  63. athoughtor2

    I think the comments about how tired everyone is of a)overreactions to a little politically incorrect fun and b) exhibitionists would be a bit more plausible if the kids had done without the mowing lawns for weed and beer and smoking, not cutting grass signs. I would be real sad to see my kid in that photo, and know they did not have enough respect for others to say to the rest of the herd "I'm not going there." Besides that, it's just tacky, completely lacking in wit.

    December 9, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  64. Jason

    I'm glad that there are hispanics who are not offended by this, but that doesn't make it less racist.

    It also doesn't make it less racist that it's "just college kids having fun." I'm sure it wasn't done to offend hispanics, but it's still racist.

    December 9, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • K.A.G.

      Pretty sure for something to be "racist" there needs to be an element of hatred or intolerance. Dressing up for a Mexican themed party doesn't seem like something of hate or intorlerance. Just more folks jumping to an extreme conclusion.

      December 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kara

        That's actually not the case (about racism needing hatred or intolerance). Racism can be accidental or just stem from ignorance.

        December 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Wastrel

    I would have been offended if they had dressed up as Piligrims.

    December 9, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
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