University of Oklahoma football players march in protest of students in blackface on campus
Earlier this week in a video that quickly spread onto social media, two white University of Oklahoma students thought it
Earlier this week in a video that quickly spread onto social media, two white University of Oklahoma students thought it was a good idea to cover themselves in blackface and film it.
The video involves two girls, Olivia Urban, and Francie Ford, who were identified by the student paper the OU Daily. In the video, Urban is seen covering her face in black paint. After Ford, off camera says “that’s paint”, Urban says “I’m a Negro” into the camera.
Ford is then seen embracing her and laughing while recording both of them. The University announced that the girls “will not return to campus” in a statement.
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“This video signals to me that we have much more to do to create an environment of equity and respect,” University of Oklahoma President James Gallogly said. “We must be purposeful to create authentic measures to address and abolish racist experiences for our students, faculty, and staff.”
Gallogly said he spent “considerable time with multicultural leaders, leaders from our student government association, student-athletes and others who were personally and emotionally impacted by the very demeaning video and other events that occur because of their identity.”
“In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I ask you to hold his ideals high as we work toward a new more inclusive and caring future for our University,” he added. On Wednesday, an unnamed student started walking around campus also clad in blackface.
ok so random dude @ The University of Oklahoma? he really feels bold enough to do this lmao what the HELL pic.twitter.com/zSTpPdtpUS
— SoSo Lee (@_sosolee) January 23, 2019
This incident, combined with the initial response from the University to the video, didn’t sit well with the student body, particularly members of OU’s football team.
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A number of Sooner players and cheerleaders voiced their displeasure on Twitter:
We need more than an apology. Somethings gotta change and decisions need to be made ASAP. This is a ultimate HELL NAH. https://t.co/vQVFn6Ltaa
— Neville Gallimore (@Path2Greatwork) January 19, 2019
Today I will compete not for my university, but for me. I’m often approached with the question: Why do you cheer at OU? For that one little black girl in crowd who looks down and sees someone who looks like me. Racism is wrong. Actions speak louder than words. #BetterTogether pic.twitter.com/8G0656lIKu
— tates (@TatumTexada) January 19, 2019
The players participated in a protest on Thursday on campus and they held signs saying “Enough is Enough.” The players included linebacker Kenneth Murray, wide receiver Nick Basquine, defensive backs Tre Brown and Robert Barnes, tight end Grant Calcaterra, and defensive lineman Neville Gallimore took part in the “Better Together” rally on OU’s campus on Thursday.
OU head football coach Lincoln Riley said during his press conference last Sunday that he encourages his players to speak out against racism, particularly on their campus.
” One, I’m proud of them,” Riley said. “That’s part of coming to college, is learning to speak for yourself and learning to weigh in on values.
“That’s a part of being an American citizen,” he added. “I think our guys have done a great job. I encourage them to not be afraid to speak their mind. Those are real issues out there, and these are going to be part of the guys handling these issues as they grow up, that generation. As far as my reactions to [the video], it’s sickening. You hate it. On every level.”
This is far from the first time incidents like this have occurred. In 2015, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house was shut down and two students expelled after a video surfaced showing members of the fraternity singing a racist chant.