A University of Oklahoma sorority said it ousted a member who filmed a blackface video that outraged students across the school’s sprawling campus, four years after a fraternity was kicked off campus after members chanted racial slurs in a video.
The latest video was shared on social media Friday, days before the Martin Luther King holiday. It showed one girl applying black paint to her face, then showing her hands to the camera before saying “I am a …”
The word she uses is not clear, but the Black Student Association and others interpreted it as a racial slur. The girl filming her also appears briefly in the video.
“Our chapter condemns the racist, offensive and disgraceful conduct of the two women involved in the video posted yesterday,” Delta Delta Delta chapter President London Moore said in a statement. “The woman who participated in, filmed and posted the video is no longer a member of our organization.”
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Earlier, school president James Gallogly said he was “saddened and offended” by the video.
“We expect all of our students, staff and faculty to respect the diversity and cultural backgrounds of others,” Gallogly said in a statement. “These differences should not divide us but should strengthen our community.”
Gallogly noted that the students have a right to free speech but added that the “negative impact of such conduct cannot be underestimated.” He said the students have offered to apologize but did not indicate whether the school would take action against them.
Taylor Wilson, president of the school’s Black Student Association, called for a “zero tolerance policy” against racist speech to be added to the school’s conduct policy. He also demanded an enhanced social and cultural curriculum, a more diverse faculty and staff and more financial support for African-American programs.
“There is a violent and painful history concerning the usage of blackface and reducing black people to racist caricatures,” Wilson said. “It is unfortunate for us to be in 2019 and this is still happening.”
In 2015, members of SAE at Oklahoma were seen on a video chanting racial slurs against blacks and indicating that blacks would never be admitted to the fraternity’s chapter in Norman. The chant also made reference to lynching.
Two students were expelled from the school, the SAE chapter was shut down, and the fraternity’s national organization apologized.