The Black Student Alliance at Yale discussed potential responses to what some members perceived as racial slights in the theme of this year’s Freshman Screw, “Gone with the Wind,” on Tuesday.
The theme has offended some students who see the glorification of the Old South as an acceptance of racism engendered by the period.
“For some people, it reads as a movie about the enslavement of black people,” BSAY President Jamilah Prince-Stewart ’09 said.
Prince-Stewart ’09 sent out an e-mail message to BSAY members before the Tuesday meeting explaining the controversy and announcing that BSAY would talk over the issue and decide how to proceed.
Prince-Stewart said BSAY members will attend the Freshman Class Council’s meeting Wednesday night and will compose a letter to the FCC outlining why BSAY found the theme offensive. The letter will be signed by any students who agree with the letter, Prince-Stewart said.
Brandee Blocker ’12 was one of the students who said that they would not attend the screw because of the theme.
She said she originally found out about the theme from her roommate who asked her what she was going to wear. After hearing the theme was “Gone With the Wind,” she said her initial reaction was, “I guess I’ll wear a slave costume.”
Blocker said she sent an e-mail message to the FCC to bring her feelings to their attention. “I’d like the name to be changed just to know that there was some thought and consideration,” she said.
South Carolina native Jahna Dominique Halyard ’12, who was present at the meeting, said she was initially not offended by the theme.
“At first, being from the South, I just perceived it as a Southern theme,” she said.
After the meeting, she said she saw the other side of the argument.
Two members of FCC present at Tuesday’s meeting, A.T. McWilliams ’12 and Sable Worthy ’12, referred comment to FCC Chair Kevin Adkisson ’12, who declined comment.