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UCLA Frat Causes Outrage and Sparks Protests For Throwing "Kanye WestErn" Party

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Daily BruinSeveral UCLA student groups are asking the university to respond after the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority held a “Kanye Western” themed raid Tuesday night, for which guests dressed in baggy clothes, plumped lips and padded bottoms, or as “Kardashians.”

Kelsee Thomas, a third-year fine arts student and member of the Afrikan Student Union, said other ASU members said they saw partygoers with those costumes. Photos from the raid also show attendees with their foreheads covered in charcoal.

The university added students are free to celebrate in ways that draw on popular culture, but their specific choices can cause harm and pain to fellow members of their community.

“Put simply, just because you can do something does not mean you should,” the university said in the statement.

Some Afrikan Student Union members stood outside the fraternity house Tuesday night and confronted fraternity members, asking them to end the event, Thomas said.

“It’s extremely disrespectful for any organization at all to think that this is possibly a good idea,” Thomas said. “I understand the play on words, but there are so many other ways (to dress) to fit that.”

Fourth-year political science student Jaimeson Cortez, who has seen multiple photos and tweets from the party, said he expected the fraternity to be conscious of existing issues with campus climate and refrain from dressing up in ways he said culturally appropriated a subset of the UCLA community.

“As someone who’s been in a UCLA fraternity, I had hoped that Greek life had more awareness than to host an event where black culture was the theme,” Cortez said.

Gotta be the scariest thing in the world going to a college party these days huh? And that goes quadruple if there’s a theme involved. I mean we’re at the point where you have to be borderline insane to walk through the doors of a theme party on a college campus. 94.5% chance an Instagram picture is going to wind up as a trending topic on Twitter getting hate messages left and right about being a racist or misogynist, and 98.7% chance you’re going to find yourself suspended or expelled from something (statistics are approximate). Sucks because a Kanye West party could actually be pretty sweet – play College Dropout and Late Registration on repeat* (808s and Heartbreaks in the quiet hookup room) and the Kim K sex tape on the big screen, hang out and enjoy yourselves. Even the Afrikan Student Union could get down with a party like that I think.


But once you get the stereotypes and costumes involved all bets are off. See it time and time again. Feel like a pretty good rule of thumb is a simple one – avoid blackface. Been the same rule for about a decade now so it seems like people might be unclear exactly what that entails – don’t paint or use marker or use any substance that will turn your face from white to black. I promise you it won’t go over well. See that thing that person has in their hand pointing it at you? That’s a cell phone. It’s hooked up to the internet and Twitter and it’s about to send that picture of you to the whole world. If you have some sort of blackface on, it’s going to fuck you, I guarantee it.

*If anyone tries to put Yeezus on and explain to you how revolutionary it is for music, throw them out the back door. That’s more offensive than blackface.