Scottish university football club under investigation over 'blackface' event

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Friday, February 6, 2015

A Scottish university is investigating after several dozen members of its football club reportedly used blackface as part of costuming for a social event yesterday. Representatives from the University of Stirling, located in central Scotland, has said it has "zero-tolerance" for racism and is "disappointed that the actions of a few are tarnishing the [university's] reputation".

Cquote1.svg The university and the Students' Union have a zero-tolerance approach to racism and will respond robustly to any behaviour that does not meet with our values and expectations Cquote2.svg

Professor John Gardner and Amy McDermott, University of Stirling

Stirling University F.C. yesterday tweeted about its intention to hold what it called an "African cup of nations" themed event that evening, although the tweet was later deleted. That evening, a group of people said to be from the team reportedly arrived at Cape, a bar in Stirling, wearing football kits, their faces and limbs covered black. Website The Tab accompanies its report with pictures of several men who appear to be covered in black makeup and quotes one man, Jim MacIvor, describing witnessing "30–40 blacked up footballers having a drink", socialising, "being quite boisterous [...] [and] quite drunk — and some of them were taking their tops off and stuff like that." The website also shared video of members of the public confronting some of the men in the group and accusing them of racism.

The Tab, which in publicising its article described the incident as "so cringe", has prompted debate among Facebook users as to whether or not the football club members' actions amount to racism. A spokesperson for Show Racism the Red Card, a charity advocating for anti-racism education, said: "The practice of blacking up was usually as part of a show by white entertainers for white audiences which relied on mocking black people’s skin colour and culture; the practice is racist and should definitely be avoided in our more enlightened times." Previously, the same charity has said "it is the consequences of the practice rather than the intention that is relevant; what does black-face say to people, and young people particularly about the acceptance and normality of different skin colours in society? Show Racism the Red Card would argue that these practices caricature and exoticise differences which could lead to discrimination."

The university has suspended four of its football teams from any football-related activities as the investigation continues. In a joint statement, Professor John Gardner, Deputy Principal for Education and Students, and student union president Amy McDermott, said the university is investigating the incident. "The university and the Students’ Union have a zero-tolerance approach to racism and will respond robustly to any behaviour that does not meet with our values and expectations", their statement said. "We are committed to promoting equality and diversity so that all students, staff and members of society can be confident that they will be treated with dignity and respect. We promote equality and diversity through a variety of policies and initiatives, including the ‘One Stirling’ campaign, which outlines our commitment to these values. We are disappointed that the actions of a few are tarnishing the reputation of the University of Stirling, and we wish to reassure students that a full investigation is underway and disciplinary action will be taken against any student found to have engaged in racist behaviour."

Upon contacting Gardner and McDermott, as well as Sports President Chris Priddle, to enquire further about the incident, the university reiterated to Wikinews the comments made in the above statement.


Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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