Party Like its 1899: A return of minstrelsy at America’s colleges (Speech topic)

Party Like its 1899: A return of minstrelsy at America’s colleges

Increasingly over the last ten years, white college students are donning blackface, drinking 40s and playing at being undocumented immigrants. While some argue that these parties and costumes are fun and games, others dismiss them as immature college students engaging stupid racist jokes. It is tempting to depict these events as clichéd racist expressions. They are, after all, contemporary minstrel theaters that allow middle and upper class white Americans to cross moral and social boundaries by racial cross-dressing. However, these explanations keep us from fully appreciating the circumstances on today’s college campus that make minstrel parties pleasing and powerful for so many. This talk explores the phenomenon behind these parties, reflecting on the context and consequences of racial mockery within an educational environment. Here, we speak not only about the social and cultural implications but provide critical interventions.

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