A few pictures circulated via social media a few weeks ago when Acacia and Alpha Phi threw a spring break party. Since everyone has to be offended these days, some people got really, really upset over the following image.
— The Daily Illini (@TheDailyIllini) April 8, 2016
What’s there to be offended about? Well, apparently the person in the sombrero, the two dudes dressed in traditional Arab keffiyehs, and someone wearing a Native America headdress. Students for Justice in Palestine, the Black Students for Revolution, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan and the Campus Union for Trans Equality and Support all joined forces to form “Not Just a Party at UIUC” (NJAP) in order to protest the photo. Why trans equality was included, I do not know.
Both parties issued a joint statement.
The theme of the event captured in that picture was “Spring Break” and not meant to be rooted in racist sentiment. The girls dressed in TSA uniforms were dressed that way because these girls traveled to an airport to get to their spring break destination of Mexico where another girl, who is also pictured, purchased a souvenir sombrero that she is seen wearing. The individual suspected to be in a chief stance and Native American imagery is dressed as a peacock DJ from Cancun, and had no intentions of mocking an inappropriate mascot.
Unrelated to the theme, an Acacia member who is a first generation Syrian-American had one of his close friends visiting from out of town that is also Syrian. The member knew this friend from the time he spent attending an international school in Lebanon, and his friend now lives in Dubai. One of the biggest connections between the two is their Middle-Eastern heritage and they thought it would be appropriate to celebrate it by going out wearing keffiyehs, an article of clothing reflective of their Middle-Eastern heritage. When someone asked to take this picture, which was taken in the member’s home, the two happily obliged to squeeze in, totally unaware of what costume the girls behind them were wearing. This Acacia member is actively involved in the Syrian-American community and has even been interviewed multiple times about the struggles of being a Syrian-American in light of the given Syrian Crisis.
You can tell by the comment section that people felt this apology was not enough. So we live in a day and age where it’s racist to celebrate your own heritage because people don’t care enough. People just have to be pissed over something.
Illinois student, Muhammad Yousuf, is one of the members who is outraged over the incident. He was informed of the statement being released before it was actually released. Alpha Phi and Acacia told him that they did not intend to be racist, but Yousuf didn’t believe them because there was no proof of that… just like there is no proof that they were being racist.
The only reason this is being blown out of proportion at Illinois is because it involves Greek life. If this was done by a few people outside of Greek life, it would be a non-story that wouldn’t even hit social media. People might even find it kind of funny..
Image via YouTube