Racist prank is bad humor

While the nation’s military engages in action abroad and Americans struggle to get back to some semblance of a daily routine, one time-tested routine seems to never take a day off. That routine is racism.

The routine of racism manifested itself most recently on Auburn University’s campus at a Halloween party. Members of two white fraternities dressed up in both a black fraternities paraphernalia and a clothing line manufactured after a famous hip-hop entertainer.

One student even pretended to wear a noose around his neck while one was pictured capturing him in hunting gear.

I was sure that the demeaning minstrel shows and white actors made up in black face, doing their crude impressions of African-Americans was a thing of the past.

Apparently these particular Auburn students differ in their opinions on that. While I am not totally alarmed, this still represents an obviously disturbing case.

As a native of South Carolina, I am well aware that the South has traditionally been thought of as crude, inbred and resistant to both social and economic change. And after this incident, I am inclined to agree with that speculation.

What is particularly disturbing is that while several students from these white fraternities engaged in this action, only two were suspended from the university.

This seems very typical of the “good ole boy” network, willing to make a token example of one or two members to satisfy public outcry, while the larger racist machine remains intact.

It’s obvious that racism has evolved by the fact that in their imitations, these white students were meticulous in including clothing widely patroned by blacks and the symbols of a black fraternity. This means that at least on some level, they’ve taken time to observe and associate these symbols with blackness.

I’ve been told that racism from anybody is wrong.

However, I disagree strongly with that idea. Racist feelings from minorities, blacks in particular, are usually reactive as opposed to proactive products. Therefore they are justified in their hatred of those who have treated them in a hateful fashion.

This incident cannot be dismissed merely as a tasteless Halloween prank. While it may have culminated during the Halloween holiday, this party lends insight as to the true perception whites have of African Americans. These kinds of racially insensitive actions give way to violence and in this case where dialogue and sanctions can never adequately address the issue, violence may just be well warranted.

Donathan Prater, 26, is a graduate journalism student from Spartanburg, S.C. He can be reached at