Costumes making fun of black people and social justice movements focused on black people have angered many at the University of Nevada at Reno and the College of Charleston. Images of the costumes, from weekend parties, have circulated online.
At Reno, a police officer dressed as Colin Kaepernick, an alumnus and a football player who launched the protest movement in which athletes and others are kneeling for the national anthem to protest police and other violence against black people. The costume (at right) shows the police officer in blackface and with a sign that says “Will Stand for Food.”
Adam Garcia, the chief of police, issued a statement to The Reno Gazette Journal that said:”For those who have seen the Halloween costume of one of our officers apparently mocking a citizen who has chosen to take advantage of his constitutional right to protest, I offer my sincere apologies…. Members of our profession are held to a higher standard and denigrating another — on or off duty — is insensitive for its lack of respect and lack understanding on how others may negatively view their actions and may be impacted.”
At the College of Charleston, many are criticizing a student’s costume, posted to social media (at left). The student posed for photos with a slur written on his body. In addition, his costume was of Freddie Gray, the black man who died in Baltimore while in police custody in 2015 — one of the examples that supporters of Kaepernick’s movement cite to show the dangers facing black men in the United States. The photo features a caption saying “ur going to jail tonight.”
Glenn F. McConnell, president of the college, issued a statement that said in part: “Over the weekend, college officials were made aware of a social media post involving one or more members of our campus community that contained a Halloween costume and messaging that was racially insensitive. This whole situation is very painful to many people, and I am extremely disappointed that something like this is connected to our university.”