Thursday, March 4, 2010

Racism, taking a reverse role

Blog By: Thomas Orbison

In Diverse and Inequality in Professional Practice class, we have covered many topics. One topic that is heavily discussed is racism, prejudice and excluding people of another color. Because of the interesting topics we learn, I always tell my friends at home what we discussed in class. One of my friends told me to check out an article online. It is about a Stepping Contest in Arkansas. (Online Debate Rages Over White Team's Step Competition Win, March 2nd, 2010) Stepping is a form of dance where the dancers stomp their feet and clap their hands to make rhythmic sounds and beats. This dance originated from the black Greeks and has been in African American culture for a long time. It is seen by many African Americans as a “black only tradition”. In Atlanta the Coca Cola Company held the stepping competitions and Greek sororities came to compete and white Sorority Zeta Tau Alpha entered the competition to try to win. They made it all the way through the beginning, the quarter finals, and the finals. When it was all over, the white sorority had won, beating 5 other sororities who were made up of all black members. Because of this, there is a hot debate over the win. The article doesn’t say too much, but some people said the judging was unfair. It never said outright that it was unfair because the girls were white, but it was certainly implied. Also, due to all this uproar and tension within the black community, Coca Cola has decided that the runner up, Alpha Kappa Alpha will share the win and receive the same $100,000 in scholarships. I find this is very interesting because most of the time we only focus on when a minority group is being treated unfairly or excluded from something. Also, there is never really much talk about what is usually called “reverse racism”, which refers to when a white group is perceived to be treated unfairly or excluded from something. This may be because it does not happen to often. Because of this fact, the white sorority has to share first place when they won the competition out-right. It was also said that some people felt their culture was being taken from them. I do not see it as that. I think in this situation it may have occurred because step dancing is becoming popular. Because of this people of many races will get into it and try to become good at it. This sort of thing has been happening for many years and will continue to happen. It’s a good thing, I think, that other cultures want to learn stepping. So, I say let it happen and be happy for the winners.


  1. I found this blog very interesting given its correlation to situations happening with my life. I am currently studding in Cuernavaca Mexico and have come into contact many times with racism, prejudice and discrimination. After reading this article and the some of the comments it has come to my attention there seems to be an issue with identity within these different cultures. The article uses the term cultural theft, the phrasing of this implies that culture is something that someone can’t change or choose for him or herself. This is completely irrational the concept of a culture is not limited to what one is born into or what society has labeled as the culture one should fit into. Regardless of this misrepresentation of culture this article also hit home for me because of the ongoing representation of racism, prejudice and discrimination I have seen within Mexico currently.
    Within Mexican culture there is this long lasting belief that if your skin color is whiter you are given certain privileges within society. For one example, bouncers at most clubs and bars will allow white, classier looking people in prior to others waiting in line. White privilege is something that plays out in every day life here and makes it hard to ignore the discrimination and prejudice against those that don’t look like me, even though I am not in my own country. However, there have been places here that will not serve lighter skinned or Americans at all or prior to completing all other orders before those of whiter skin tones. Being here has really had an impact on my beliefs of racism and reverse racism. It has painted an interesting picture of the reality of racism, prejudice and discrimination within my culture and others.

  2. Liz Jeska:
    I find this article very interesting and I am glad you shared this with us. I think the thing I find most interesting is that the African American community or any other minority community does not like to be left out of the majority and in this case the White community’s activities and when they are it is considered raciest and discriminatory. Yet there is no problem excluding Whites from their own activities and when Whites try to take part, sometimes people claim that Whites are trying to take over the culture as well. I also think it’s interesting that when Whites are left out society doesn’t normally see it as raciest or discriminatory until severe cases such as this one.

  3. I cannot decide how to feel about this case. It is interesting that because the winners were white, some people became annoyed. But I do like the fact that the company handed out twice as many scholarships. So I feel as though that is a good outcome. However, the idea that culture is all in skin color seems not right. I agree that people of all colors and abilities should be able to be interested in any culture or practice, regardless of any other factor.

  4. (That last comment was made by me, Deidre Smith)

  5. Kell Quill:
    I am glad this article is brought up because it creates much discussion. I feel like in athletics people conclude that one race must be superior to another in a certain sport. From example, basketball is a sport that is known to be dominantly played by African Americans and in this case African American girls are dominant in the dance form of stomping when being compare to white girls. I think it is interesting that this article recognizes the minority race come out on top of the dominant race. I agree with Liz about how it is….“interesting that when Whites are left out society doesn’t normally see it as raciest or discriminatory until severe cases such as this one.” This is a very true fact and is good that it is being recognized, because this is a good topic to discuss and can be viewed in many ways.

  6. Boonchan Khamda:
    This is an interesting article. It's weird to see that when a non-colored team wins a colored competition people are calling it unfair. No one in the article mentioned anything about racism, so does that mean racism only happens to people of color? If a team no matter what the color is can prove they can beat the others, they deserve to win without controversy. I feel bad for the Zeta Tau Alpha team because they put a clean routine together and in the end it all ended up messy because of their color. It kind of puts a damper on the win they got because of the controversy. I've seen their video and I think they deserve that win without any controversy.