Not so long ago a couple of students at the University of Pretoria recieved heavy critisism after pics of them dressed up as domestic workers spread on Facebook and now another blackface scandal at Stellenbosch University has erupted on social media. Photos of two white Stellies students with black painted faces dressed up as the Williams sisters circulated on Twitter with many calling for them to be expelled.
Ya not the greatest idea that.
“In the photo the two students are supposed to be dressed as US tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams. They were attending a 21st party.
The caption on the photo reads: “Hanging out with the Williams Sisters [sic] last night at the Boli’s 21st. Let’s hope they don’t get kicked out the varsity for this one!” [News24]
And of course the debate as to whether it’s offensive or not rages on.
What say you?
UPDATE: the students have released a statement saying they apologise and it was an error in judgement on all their behalves, and they regret their actions
In light of what happened yesterday, Michael, Ross and I would like to make a statement which we have written together, communicating our side of the story. On Saturday the 20th of September, we attended two friends of ours’ 21st, who are twins. And so, aptly, the theme for the event was “Twinning”, which implies twins that are winning.
Ross and I decided, in the spirit of the 21st, to attend the event as Serena and Venus Williams, who, as I’m sure you all know, are iconic famous American sporting siblings. To make us more recognisable as the sibling characters, we painted our entire bodies; this was not intended to represent a racial stereotype but rather to directly depict and represent the sisters.
Unfortunately, as we all know this has resulted in the misinterpretation of painting our bodies black and has been associated with “black facing”, which we now know is a disparaging practice used to portray offensive racial stereotypes, and we cannot stress enough that this was not our intent. We are aware that this has caused a lot of hurt, and we would like to reassure you that there was absolutely no malicious or racial intent in what we did; it was an error in judgement on all our behalves, and we regret this.” [Facebook]