A University of Michigan frat says the "Hood Ratchet Thursday" party thrown for "bad bitches, white girls, basketball players, thugs and gangsters" and "ratchet pussy" wasn't about race until the black students who complained made it so.
An invitation to Theta Xi's "World Star Hip Hop themed" event prompted complaints from several students, ultimately leading to the launch of a formal investigation by school officials.
The frat has since canceled the party, scheduled for next Thursday, and all future social events have been suspended pending a review by the University's administration and Theta Xi’s national headquarters.
"I love U of M and even today I’m fundamentally happy, but it’s scary to think that I sit in class with people who think this way and people that agree with them, people who legitimately thought this party was a good idea and was okay," Black Student Union secretary Geralyn Gaines told Michigan Daily, the school's student-run paper. "The invitation amplified stereotypes and used a level of disgusting language that it was evident they actively tried to offend us."
In response to criticism that the Facebook event, which informed attendees that "hood IDs will be checked at the door," was racially insensitive, frat member and invite author Allen Wu said the intent was merely to "celebrate" hip-hop music, and he was disappointed that "people" made it about race.
"I wish that we lived in an age where we as people could collectively celebrate the music that we consume without aggravating racial sensitivities," Wu wrote in an op-ed for the Daily. "It pains me to see that 'hip-hop parties' are immediately cast under a racial lens, even if not so intended."
Wu did apologize for forgetting that " it's not always OK to emulate respected hip-hop artists" and that "racial sensitivity is no small issue," but also lamented, presumably unironically, that "people can, and will, negatively perceive Black culture because of media and social stereotypes."
A campus-wide email from U-M Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper sent yesterday slammed the invitation for having "denigrated all women and African American/black identified people through racial stereotypes and cultural appropriation."
In a subsequent "apology" email, fraternity president Eric Quang distanced himself and the rest of the frat from the party — which was to be held at Theta Xi's Washtenaw Avenue house — saying it "was not the result of a chapter decision, vote, or endorsement."
[screengrab via Facebook]