Racist video by Asian fraternity stirs anger

By Staff
The Associated Press

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — The University of California, Irvine, is investigating a video that shows a member of an Asian American fraternity dancing in blackface after the clip sparked outrage on campus, a university official said April 25.

The video shows members of Lambda Theta Delta dancing to the Justin Timberlake song “Suit & Tie,” as they get dressed up in suits and dark sunglasses. About a minute into the clip, a student wearing blackface joins in and pretends to be hip hop artist Jay-Z, who raps on the song with Timberlake.

The fraternity, the university’s oldest and largest Asian American Greek fraternity, and the four students behind the video are under investigation for the “reprehensible” clip, said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Thomas Parham.

If violations of school policy are found, the fraternity, the students, or both could face sanctions ranging from a verbal warning to suspension, he said.

Lambda Theta Delta posted an apology on Facebook on April 24 and said the video was made by individual members and was not approved by the organization. On May 1, the organization announced that they were entering a self-imposed suspension.

“During this time off, we will take many steps, including: a new advisory board will be assembled comprised of alumni and campus staff; all current members will participate in programs to address racism; and we will propose a new recruitment and pledge process to the university in fall 2014 which will include cultural awareness and respect, [sic]” the organization said in a statement.

The individual students also apologized to the Multi-Cultural Greek Affairs Council and the Black Student Union, Parham said.

Ainaria Johnson, a 21-year-old senior and Black Student Union co-chair, said the group’s apology didn’t ring true.

“We told them the time to apologize and the time for conversation has passed,” Johnson said. “None of that can take back what you did. You’re not sorry that you did it, you’re only sorry you got caught.”

Asian students make up 49 percent of the student body at UC Irvine, while Black students make up about 3 percent, Parham said. (end)

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