National Institute on Aging

Sorority at the University of Southern Mississippi Disciplines Six Students for Blackface Incident

Six students at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg were placed on probation by their sorority for dressing in blackface to attend an off-campus party. The students went in costume depicting themselves as members of the Huxtable family from the 1980s television sitcom, The Cosby Show.

The students, all members of the Phi Mu sorority, will not be disciplined by the university. Dean of Students Eddie Holloway, stated, “Though it is clear that these women had no ill intent, it was also clear that they had little cultural awareness or competency, and did not understand the historical implication of costuming in blackface.”


Comments (4)

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  1. LaVerne says:

    Some in the Black community have tried to justify this portrayal of the Huxtables. The photograph that is shown does not bear any resemblance to anyone who played even small parts on The Cosby Show. How pathetic. Sensitivity training might do some good; however the picture indicates that this is how Black people are seen by those six students, as well as others.

    What a pathetic message the incident sends in the Year 2011.

    • Jim Coll says:

      LaVerne, while I won’t engage in a prolonged discussion about this incident or attempt to defend the actions of these Southern Miss students here, I would like to point out that the image portrayed is not a Southern Miss student. I am not sure of its origin, but have contacted the JBHE to request that it is identified properly.

      Jim Coll
      Chief Communication Officer
      The University of Southern Mississippi

  2. Wiliam Steele says:

    My feelings are that the University is also insensitive to what this kind of behavior reflects. These young ladies are, we assume, well educated and know what the plight of Blacks has been over hundreds of years. I think that the University is not being responsible.

  3. hdavis says:

    Has anything really changed in ole Mississippi? And these women are supposed to college educated…really? Their actions speak volumes about the kind of education they are receiving at the University of Southern Mississippi. What a shame that a college education is wasted on them.

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