I usually find myself at the end of every week looking at sports topics to cover whether it is the results of a Thursday Night Football game, new developments in the national anthem protest, or something else sports related. Yesterday though a few hours before the kickoff of the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Miami Dolphins game, a Facebook friend shared a video of a student wearing an Albright College t-shirt, with a mud mask on her face, her attempt at black face. I thought to myself this could not be real. Not at the school I used to go to and still highly recommend to friend. Turns out it was real this incident a black eye on a campus and a school that still holds a special place in my heart.
I am a 2012 graduate of Albright College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Criminology. I know that medium sized campus located in Reading, Pennsylvania better than a lot of people. To think that four years later that now a student would have such disrespect for the school, students, staff, alumni, and the community like that. It took me a whole day to process my feelings of hurt and anger, and write this article. This article to readers who have probably never stepped foot on Albright’s campus, and the only reason they know about Albright now is because of these students who thought it would be fun to shoot a video for the world to see disrespecting the black community.
This is not the first incident of blackface being used or something similar used to simulate it on college campuses. Kansas State University, North Dakota University and East Tennessee State University are all dealing with instances of student’s using blackface or in East Tennessee State’s case a student in a gorilla mask walking around a Black Lives Matter rally trying to instigate a situation. All of those campuses have promptly suspended or expelled the perpetrators. Then the leadership of the school has done their best to have open forum discussions to help their campuses heal.
I am a part of one of the most accepting generations in the history of this country and yet still these incidents of black face keep coming up. The fact that behaviors like this still exist shows that we have a long way to go in our society. It is our job to eradicate this behavior and do our best to actually bring about a society that actually can judge people on their character and not the color of their skin.
As of this writing Albright has suspended two students for making the video and have asked the two students to leave campus immediately.
Albright College President Dr. Lex O. McMillan said, “The two students most directly involved in the creation and distribution of the video that was widely shared on social media have been suspended pending further investigation and adjudication through the College’s community standards process. They have been advised to leave campus immediately and remain available for communications with College officials” (https://www.facebook.com/AlbrightCollege/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf, 9-30-16).
Albright College chose to follow the example of schools like Kansas State University and promptly suspend the students involved with the video. It is a big start in the healing process for the campus. I hope the next time Albright College is in the news it will be for something positive and not negative like this. Today, I am very proud of my College for choosing to do the right thing and cut ties with these students and show black alumni, current students, staff, and members of the faculty that they stand with us, in saying that this behavior will not be tolerated on Albright’s campus.