More likely than not, your Halloween costume offends someone. It’s almost inescapable. Someone is going to spin your Hey Arnold costume into a 500 word cultural appropriation blog about kids struggling with football head. Welcome to 2016, when everything is on display. I wanted to hand out candy this year as Jared from Subway, but I was told I’d go to prison. When I said it’s a joke, the response was primarily, “It doesn’t matter.”
A former University of Central Arkansas sophomore and Sigma Tau Gamma brother Brock Denton’s Halloween costume and ill attempt at humor cost him his degree and fraternity brotherhood. If that seems excessive, it’s because it is.
Denton wore the costume at his frat’s Halloween party Friday night. He posted the below photo accompanied with the caption, “It was a bold night.”
UCA President Tom Courtway issued the below statement upon hearing the incident:
After getting expelled from school, Denton apologized on his private Instagram account, writing:
“I have been sent death threats, threats to burn my house down. I am scared for my life,” Denton wrote, according to Death and Taxes. “I am the farthest thing from discrimination, as a matter of fact I fight for equality everyday, I’ve been writing a book for the past two years on what it really means to be a good person.”
“I can honestly say I’ve never heard of black face before until today,” wrote Denton. “Believe me or don’t but at this point all I can do is be truthful.”
Kicking the kid out of college for an insensitive Halloween costume shows the danger of the social media outrage machine. As a society, we’ve decided that blackface is rooted in the notion that black folks are inherently less than white people, and by that outlook, it is racist. But for a genius named ‘Brock’ who goes to the esteemed University of Central Arkansas and may not know the implications of such an act, putting on some blackface is just an effort to most accurately portray his costume’s character. Granted, this dude’s representation of Cosby’s skin pigment rings more true to a duck in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill, but this doesn’t necessarily make him racist, just ignorant. And by kicking him out of school and beating him up on social media, we can all pat ourselves on the back for doing our part in stopping injustice without actually doing anything that requires real effort, of course. Yay us! Such good people.
[h/t Death and Taxes]