Oregon State has decided to drop its plans to do two "blackout" games this season, based on concerns about racial sensitivity that stem from a similar promotion in 2007.
Usually, fans come to "blackout" games wearing black shirts and often the home team wears special black uniforms, but five years ago the Oregon State students took it too far, and it still has repercussions.
Oregon State's student paper, The Daily Barometer, reported that "blackout" games on Oct. 20 and Nov. 17 were nixed after concerns were raised by student leaders and other parties. The paper explains that in 2007, a Barometer writer rallied fans to do a "blackout" event at a game, but the day before that game the paper printed an illustration depicting a student "wearing black body and face paint that looked eerily similar to the blackface worn by white minstrel performers of the 19th and early 20th centuries." At the game some students wore Afro wigs and painted their faces and body black, the paper said, which also offended many students.
This time around, the students didn't want a similar problem. From The Daily Barometer:
"It's a positive step for the university community, as the university was obviously not ready for it, especially after all the culturally insensitive remarks made since the [Barometer] article last Friday. It shows we need more education to make campus safe for all students," [Associated Students of Oregon State University president Amelia] Harris said.
Administrators from Oregon State, which has black and orange as its school colors, decided against having the two "blackout" games.
The student paper's story offers quotes from students who thought the idea of doing another "blackout" game was insensitive, and other students who don't associate the promotion to skin color.
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