White House slams ‘racist’ Ole Miss video of Black female student being taunted

The White House on Tuesday condemned a viral video of a mob of white male students on the University of Mississippi campus taunting a Black female student protesting against Israel’s deadly war in Gaza.

When theGrio asked about the Biden-Harris administration’s response to the video that has garnered millions of views online, White House Press Karine Jean-Pierre called the actions “racist” and “undignified.”

“The behavior captured in that video is undignified, and it’s just racist — period,” said the Biden spokesperson. “It is insulting to everyone who has to view it … It is incredibly saddening. We are so much better than that … and we owe it to one another and ourselves to act like it.”

The video in question shows a group of mostly white male pro-Israel counterprotesters screaming and berating a Black female, identified as Jaylin R. Smith, a 24-year-old graduate student. One of them mimicked a monkey while another called Smith “Lizzo,” apparently referring to her body size. Other counterprotesters shouted, “Lock her up!”

The student who taunted Smith with monkey gestures was subsequently expelled from the campus chapter of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, which called his actions “racist” and “antithetical to the values” of the organization. The University of Mississippi, known colloquially as Ole Miss, also opened up a student conduct investigation following the campus incident. 

University of Mississippi students yell and scream in September 1962 during an on-campus demonstration shortly before James Meredith arrived in an integration attempt. Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett refused to admit Meredith to Ole Miss. (Photo: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

The university has a long history of racism, including a violent riot in 1962 over the enrollment of James Meredith, a Black student, during desegregation. President John F. Kennedy deployed more than 30,000 federal troops to quell the riot. 

There is also backlash for U.S. Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.), who shared the racist video with the caption, “Ole Miss taking care of business.” In a letter to congressional leaders, the NAACP called for an ethics investigation to be opened in response to Collins. 

“These actions conducted by a member of the House of Representatives, regardless of intent, legitimize and propagate racism and undermine the principles of equality and justice that our government is sworn to uphold,” the letter said.

When asked about Collins’ resharing and endorsement of the video, Jean-Pierre told theGrio, “It is beneath anyone to be sharing that kind of material, and the actions in the video are beneath any American.”

America’s first Black White House press secretary said, “It’s beneath any elected official or leader to be sharing that kind of material …. What we saw on that video … it’s sickening.”

Recommended Stories

Following the controversy, Rep. Collins released a statement denouncing racism and argued that the racist behavior in the video was the “focal point of the video.” He argued that his point in praising the video was to highlight resistance to what he sees as campus disruptions.

“If that person is found to have treated another human being improperly because of their race, they should be punished appropriately, and will hopefully seek forgiveness,” Collins’ statement read. “I recognize that there certainly seems to be some potentially inappropriate behavior that none of us should seek to glorify.”

Markus Batchelor, national political director at People For the American Way, said of Congressman Collins: “Mike Collins knew exactly what he was doing, and to uplift the violence and racism the video clearly displays is disgusting and dangerous.”

He told theGrio, “Encouraging violence and then avoiding responsibility is the classic tactic the Far Right continues to use with increasingly more tragic consequences.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.