Is the NAACP trying to find its roots again?
NAACP Holding Summit Saturday on College Racism
Date: Thursday, April 12, 2007
By: Katrina A. Goggins, Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. - (AP) The NAACP plans a summit Saturday to address racism on college campuses months after white students at Clemson University held a party mocking black stereotypes and after the founder of a white supremacist group spoke there earlier this week.
"This meeting will be the first step in creating positive changes for all students in South Carolina," NAACP state Youth and College Division president Quentin James said of the summit planned at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
"We have a lot of work to do," said Dwight James, executive director of the state chapter of the NAACP. "A lot of people have to wake up to what's going on on campuses."
James said some Clemson students were upset about the visit by Jared Taylor, founder of the Oakton, Va.-based New Century Foundation, who believes whites are genetically superior to blacks and was invited by a student organization to speak at the campus Monday.
His speech came a few months after a party at which white students mocked black stereotypes by drinking malt liquor and at least one student dressed in black face.
Clemson president James Barker issued a statement by e-mail Wednesday, calling for "a stronger, more inclusive university."
"It has become clear to me, however, that we can and should do more to become a community that more closely reflects the true diversity of the state in which we live," Barker wrote.
A Clemson spokesman said Barker was not available for further comment Thursday.
The NAACP is investigating incidents at Clemson and other colleges and universities around the country, James said.
At an off-campus "Bullets and Bubbly" party thrown by University of Connecticut School of Law students in January, pictures showed students wearing baggy jeans, puffy jackets and holding fake machine guns.
The University of Colorado's Ski and Snowboard Club advertised a "gangsta party" in September, with fliers featuring rappers and fake bullet holes. The theme was dropped after complaints, but some students who didn't get the message showed up in gangsta garb, hoping to win prizes.
The civil rights organization has received reports of gangsta-themed parties at other colleges and universities in South Carolina, James said.