Colonial party theme nixed

A controversial party titled “Colonizers and Colonized” was cancelled following complaints from students and meetings with Yale College deans.

Two international student organizations, the Yale Latin American Student Organization and Yale European Undergraduates, had organized the mixer for Friday night. Many students heard about the party through a Facebook event page, which prompted many, especially those affiliated with Yale’s Chicano organization, MEChA, to speak out against it.

The event page said “proper colonizer/colonized attire is strongly encouraged.”

Following the outcry from students and meetings with deans Thursday, the groups cancelled the mixer and each released a statement apologizing for the incident and stressing that they had no intentions to hurt anyone.

Rosalinda Garcia, the assistant dean of Yale College and director of La Casa Cultural who met with LASO leaders Thursday, said she was disturbed by the event.

“I was extremely surprised and upset when I heard about the event,” she said. “Incidents like this can be so hurtful and can truly damage the community.”

The YEU board issued a statement Thursday saying they intended the event to bring the two organizations together and that the title was chosen with “no bad intentions.” Members of LASO issued a similar statement expressing regret and said they “did not realize how charged the words of the title were.”

“As soon as we realized it offended people, we acted as quickly as possible to address that,” said YEU president Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein ’12.

LASO treasurer Ilan Szekely ’11 added Thursday that his organization never intended to upset people.

“I believe our campus has a political correctness fixation that forces people to be conscientious of race and gender differences every time they speak, which I think exacerbates tensions instead of ameliorating them,” he said.

Edgar Diaz ’11, however, who has served on the Yale and national boards of MEChA, said he was shocked when he found out about the event Wednesday night. He began spreading the word about the mixer to people on various panlists and contacting some of the cultural house deans. Diaz said he could not believe that Yale students, especially those affiliated with cultural organizations, did not consider the event inappropriate.

Diana Enriquez ’13 said she also found the theme of the party upsetting.

“I’m a Mexican of Spaniard descent. I don’t want to think about what my ancestors did to the country,” she said. “I think what they did was wrong, and I don’t want it to be glorified.”

Enriquez said colonization should not be the subject for humor since people — especially indigenous populations — are still living with the repercussions of colonization.

Garcia said LASO and YEU will hold a forum for students to discuss the issues that the incident has brought up. Diaz, however, said he doubts such a discussion would effectively prevent such events in the long term.

“Something like this happens every year, and we keep having discussions and forums about these issues, and we don’t seem to have institutional memory about these things,” he said.

Last year’s Freshman Screw theme, “Gone With the Wind,” also stirred controversy when members of the African-American community complained the book and film on which the event was based glorified the slave-owning culture of the American South before the Civil War. Members of the Freshman Class Council changed the dance’s theme in response to the controversy.


  • A stunt?

    Colonialism is not fun or funny. Seriously!

  • 12

    I do not understand why some people wanted to shut the party down. If they felt offended, they could have just contacted the boards and tell them their thoughts. Then, the them could have changed, and people could have apologized if they thought it was necessary. I do not understand why deans, and university officials along with cultural houses had to get involved. I cannot understand why Yalies would ever want to offend or hurt someone either by picking an allegedly offensive theme or by launching an all-out attack on two student organizations and trying to cancel “their” mixer.

  • A stunt? No… a party.

    So many touchy people around here. I can’t sneeze without seriously offending someone. Had to write six letters of apology just this semester for my allergies! Get over yourselves.

  • streever

    Much ado about nothing?

  • Recent Alum

    Will this insanity ever stop?

  • get it right

    LASO treasurer Ilan Szekely ’11 added Thursday that his organization never intended to upset people.

    “I believe our campus has a political correctness fixation that forces people to be conscientious of race and gender differences every time they speak, which I think exacerbates tensions instead of ameliorating them,” he said.

    Ummmm, YDN, the quote that you include does not support the assertion that you make.

  • Wow

    The Gone with the Wind thing I actually understood, because there’s the whole decadence of the old south with big hoopskirts thing, which is kind of romantic. Romantic is appealing until you remember slavery.

    But what’s the appeal of colonialism? Are small-pox filled blankets among the suggested attire? I don’t think there are any positive/romantic associations that make it understandable how someone even came up with the theme.

  • 11y

    Yeah, that party theme was ridiculous.

  • Sensible’11

    Why does colonialism get such a bad rap?

    Without colonialism, so much of the world would still not have modern infrastructure and technology, much less representative and liberal governmental structures. Of course, exploitation is a bad thing, but colonialism certainly wasn’t all bad, and on balance it probably helped more peoples than it hurt. Are the people of India upset that the British helped overthrow the oppressive and authoritarian Mughal dynasty and laid the framework for the democratic, independent India of today?

    The Enlightenment appears to be dead at Yale. Knee-jerk reactions are so common that it’s appalling. “Dare to know” – find out for yourself. Have some intellectual dignity.

  • Joe W.

    As a Yale grad of Irish descent, I feel scandalized that this party could remind me of centuries of British oppression. Oh wait, that was a long time ago. And I live in American now. And the British don’t oppress me anymore… Now that job has been taken over by the PC police of Yale’s fascist left-wing subcultures.

  • Yale Latino ’10

    I certainly agree that the party was not designed with bad intentions, but it was flippant. Colonialism, and the oppression of the past, should not be trivialized. While it is a charged topic, we also must not be so sensitive such that we completely ban topics of colonialism in academia (and thankfully we have not). Germany may want to ban the swastika and forget the atrocities that Hitler committed, but the rest of the world sure as hell won’t forget. Our past must NEVER be forgotten lest it occur again. That said, maybe the YEU should hold more discussions regarding thoughts of past imperial powers. I’m a fan of modern Europe, and I’m sad that to many, this party may have perpetuated the arrogant, “superiority” European stereotype. A party between LASO and YEU…there could have been a better way (and mixer name) to forge relationships between each.

  • ’11

    I understand some people could get offended, but honestly, every theme in the world can offend someone. It’s purely subjective. I’m a Latin American of Spanish, African, and Taino descent, and this theme to me represents the fact we have reached a point in history where Europe and Latin America can interact on an equal footing, and can laugh at ourselves without hurting each other. Yale provides us with that equal platform, and I think this mixer celebrated that. LASO and YEU did not mean for it to be taken out of context.

  • h

    Yale wouldnt exist without colonialism…neither would any of us bc the US would have stopped growing a long time ago and old world Europe and Russia would have been left unchallenged in all great conflicts past 1800. Not saying its ok, just saying do not take for granted the many benefits we personally secured from manifest destiny and then despise those who secured them. A little hypocritical unless one is of the mind to make amends to the many that were so horribly and callously wronged.

  • #14

    For attire, what were the “colonized” suppose to wear? Shackles? Threadbare clothing? When LASO and YEU got to that part of their ‘great’ idea, nothing stood out for them as crossing the line? How stupid can Yalies be?

  • Y’11

    I think there should be a public apology for discrimination on the part of the people who protested the theme. Idiocy.

  • H.

    Ilan is totally right. Its because of people like Edgar Diaz that race relations are completely exacerbated on this campus. If Edgar had a problem with the theme, he should have contacted the organizations directly. Was there really a need to email deans and cry like a four year old tattletale? Are we not adults? If something offends you, ignore it or tell the person that it offends you. Don’t use the university administration as a police to enforce your misconstrued opinions of a party theme on everyone else at the school.

    And Diana… really? No one said anything about glorifying the horrible things Spainsh colonizers did to poor native Mexicans. There is plenty of stuff the Spanish brought to Mexico that can be glorified instead. Think of culture, literacy, language, art, etc. Is it wrong to glorify those? And what about horrific native practices that the Spanish put an end to? Take human sacrifice for example…

    This party should have been allowed to proceed, and anyone too self-indignant to understand what the theme actually meant could simply just have gone to another party instead.

  • Stunned Queen Victoria

    Yalies defending colonialism? I’m flabbergasted!

    I propose a “Slavers and slaves” party next. Slavery happened a long time ago — let’s have a laugh about it! It could be bondage-themed. The U.S. and Yale would exist but for slavery. We took those African cannibals out of the jungle law of the state of nature and gave them a daily meal. Why so serious, guys? The leftist fascist atheist jihadist moralists got to you?

  • bambi

    Let’s not be colonial apologists. Some things just aren’t excusable–the oppression and destruction of indigenous peoples fueled by racist beliefs, for instance. Make no mistake about it, the vestiges of colonialism are still all too present. It’s not something confined solely to the past. The people who came up with this party theme obviously have not personally encountered this (big surprise!), but you can be sure that it colonialism isn’t some nice chapter confined to history.

  • Robert Schneider

    I am greatly heartened by the ridicule that some have heaped upon the grievance police. Yale College is not dead.

  • anon

    PC run amok. Here’s a novel idea, if you’re offended, DON’T GO TO IT.

  • Pierson ’10

    #12 got it exactly right — there are no clear lines anymore between the descendants of the colonizers and the descendants of the colonized. If we want to carry moral culpability for colonialism down to the present then a lot of us will have two conflicting sides within ourselves.

    Yale continually loses its ability to laugh at itself because of the self-righteous, self-important, victimizing behavior of culture houses and guilty white liberals. Life’s too short to be this serious. Remind me again why I didn’t go to Harvard?

  • 16

    People really have to calm the hell down here… What did the deans and cultural houses have to do with this??? Too many people taking themselves too seriously…

  • @ #12

    “..this theme to me represents the fact we have reached a point in history where Europe and Latin America can interact on an equal footing…”

    What? An equal footing would be a regular theme. Like, I dont know, Michael Jackson’s outfits or Casino Night or whatever.

    There are so many ways these two groups could have interacted, either highlighting each group’s culture or embracing a whole different theme. You can not have an equal footing when you are reliving those ‘good old days’ when you were NOT on equal footing.

  • explain this

    For those defending the theme of the party, can you please explain how the attire being encouraged was appropriate – and celebrated how far we’ve come?

    There are always people at Yale who will defend every and any thing, no matter how outrageous it may be. Edgar and others – don’t let it discourage you. Great job!

  • 2010

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like a YEU/LASO mixer with the exact same theme occurred two years ago and nobody complained… Why all the meddling and uproar now? Relax, people.

  • now what do i do with this $20 PartyCity loincloth

    How foolish of them to choose a theme demeaning to minorities. Don’t they know party themes should be demeaning only to women?

    Next time they should stick to the classics, like CEOs and Business Hos.

  • Here’s 2 cents…

    Let me chip in to help buy a box of tissues for the poor souls who had their wittle feewings hurt.

  • y11

    I’m not going to read these comments, lest my blood pressure spiral out of control.

    This kind of political correctness is total garbage, and has no place at a University committed to free speech. Everyone is offended by something, and your pet issue should get no more consideration. Get over it.

  • Addington

    I don’t understand why some people say this a liberal complaint. I am hispanic conservative, and while I am certainly in favor of freedom of expression, the fact is that this theme is hardly prudent. Just because we CAN do some things doesn’t always mean we should. There also seems to be a pervailing feeling, particularly in LASO, that the “colonized” means primarily the creole demographic; groups like mecha might be hysterical at times, but on this I can at least somewhat sympathize .

  • ’10

    Y’all need a colonic.

  • ’09 Yalie

    I wish I could say I’m surprised by all of the people that are of the ‘It’s no big deal, they should relax’ opinion. Despite the obvious lengths we’ve come as a society and the positive attributes that may have come along with some aspects of colonialism, let’s not forget the main theme at play here. As commendable as it is for LASO and YEU to throw a mixer to celebrate a relationship that we would not have seen long ago, it is still a bit troubling to have a ‘celebration’ entitled ‘Colonizers and colonized’. While I’m sure the theme wasn’t mean to be inflammatory, all of us as members of society should be a little more conscientious, especially those of us who claim to be the best members of the community.

    The most outrageous part in my mind is the people who dismiss the feelings of others so freely. Regardless of the situation, no one has the right to say ‘Just chill out, no big deal’ strictly as a matter of common decency. Instead of blaming the liberal attitude of Yale, maybe you should actually for a second consider the thoughts from the opposite side. The most important aspect of your Yale education is engaging in dialogue with those of the community that have different opinions and growing as a person. If you didn’t want to engage in all forms of education, whether it be inside or outside of the classroom, you should’ve gone to Harvard (as was mentioned). It’s commendable that people like Edgar actually speak their mind lest we lose all of what makes our institution so great.

  • bmt

    to sum up,

    a mixer intended only for yeu and laso members got shut down.

    censorship again prevailed (after Gone with the wind, FCC Game shirts)

    The split between LASO and La Casa just got worse

    and I think this incident should also pose some questions regarding international students and their adjustment (or assimilation) in the American society and Yale.

  • @H.

    No, Diana was right. What are YOU talking about?

    Any time that COLONIZERS and COLONIZED come up in conversation and debate, there comes the conquistador side of the debate.

    And those things that Spaniards brought to Mexico? ALL of those are ridiculous and self-serving. The indigenous people had an incredibly rich culture, had their own alphabet and their own writing system, communicated in their own language, and had amazingly beautiful artwork.

    And what did you expect Edgar to do? Stay quiet?

    This is ridiculous that you expect people to stay quiet when they see a form of injustice or ignorance like this. The way he went about it, telling friends and voicing his opinion, was completely his own decision, and he should not be expected to conform to the cowardly way of bringing change like quietly telling superiors. It is a courageous act of him to have taken matters into his own hands like that.

  • If…

    If the party theme was CEO’s and Hoes, the feminists at our campus would put an end to it.

  • at #34

    You know that’s not true, I’m impressed if you’ve never attended a party with a variation of that name

  • y09

    to #34

    And this would be bad why exactly?

  • sigh…

    Look, people have said it before, I’ll say it again. If you were offended by the theme of the party, then there were several options for you. 1) Do not go to the party. 2) Contact the organizations’ leaders directly to discuss the issue and why it may be offensive. 3) Stop to think for 1 minute and realize that no one is trying to purposefully offend someone else, and that the true intentions of this mixer were to unite two groups on campus for some good times. No one planned on getting together to ridicule people that were oppressed in the past. My guess is, that kind of conversation wouldn’t even had come up because they would be too busy enjoying the party, the company, and the music.

    Clearly, no need to get deans and administration involved. Time to start solving things without calling on the political correctness policy.

    Lastly, this was a private event between two organizations, with no aim of insulting anyone. No need to make anyone the “bad guy” here.

  • SY 09

    Hmm perhaps we should have a mixer between Slifka and the German department and name it oppressors & oppressed/genocided. Or perhaps a mixer between the Muslim and Christian students and name it the Great Crusades…nothing offensive about it as long as it was all with good intentions and not taken out of context, right? After all, the Holocaust and crusades were in the past, right? And genocide and religious fanatics don’t exist anymore, right? And indigenous people didn’t have language, literacy, or culture before being colonized, right?

    While it is upsetting that these things tend to happen pretty much on a yearly basis, I’m glad there are plenty of students like Diaz on campus to bring awareness to the incoming classes who have no idea things like this happen each year. After all, Yale doesn’t exactly advertise how much political(correctness) tension/general ignorance exists on campus. And maybe, just maybe, some of the upperclassmen might just understand why these types of “parties” are not okay.

  • Wow

    I have been at Yale for 3 years and the level of ignorance has increased exponentially each year.

    What idiot in LASO thought this was okay?

    What idiot in YEU thought of this theme?

    What were the “colonized” people supposed to wear to this event?

  • @37

    Parties at Yale tend to be subsidized by the UOFC through some manner and form. Quite frankly, it is my right, as someone who helps pay student activities fees that go into the UOFC, to see that the content of the events are not blatantly offensive.

    And I don’t care if people aren’t ‘trying’ to offend people: it really is a cop out for allowing individual who are ignorant to keep on displaying their ignorance. Imagine an alternative scenario: “I didn’t know the speed sign was there officer.”

    Anytime you have SOMETHING as CLEARLY HISTORICALLY PROBLEMATIC as COLONIZATION, you should probably be a little more weary.

    And finally, I don’t care if it would have come up in conversation: the way we describe the world and label things around us HAS NORMATIVE CONSEQUENCES. If I was throwing a party and named it the “Women in the Kitchen 4eva!” party, I don’t care if people didn’t actually talk about that. It normalizes the conversation, saying that the concept discussed in its title is an acceptable thing to publicize as something people should find interesting and acceptable.

    Is it really that hard to say: “This party theme was most likely offensive to a large group of people whose nations have been victims of colonization” and leave it that?

  • yale11

    I’m from an American from a country that was colonized by European powers, but I hardly find this theme offensive. For goodness sake it’s just a party! Find something else to complain about! Waaaaahhhh! Should I call the wambulance?

  • bigger sigh…

    “1) Do not go to the party”

    And once again, what we must see and remember is that even if one didn’t go to the party, the party would still be happening. This party is a celebration of the rape and attempted extermination of the native people. Although I agree that LASO and YEU didn’t have malevolent intentions in organizing this party, it still doesn’t make it okay to have this as a theme.

    It was a STUPID theme, even if it wasn’t ill-intentioned. It should not have been celebrated. There is nothing to laugh at. At all.

    Now, just letting it go on and not voicing an opinion, even if one didn’t attend, did not make the party right.

    “2) Contact the organizations’ leaders directly to discuss the issue and why it may be offensive.”

    A discussion was had on the event’s wall that voiced people’s opinions about the theme, BUT THE DISCUSSION BOARD WAS TAKEN DOWN. Don’t tell me that this wasn’t attempted. The opinions were merely ignored and rejected. There wasn’t much discussion-having.

    “3) Stop to think for 1 minute and realize that no one is trying to purposefully offend someone else”

    Definitely, LASO and YEU did not create the event in order to ridicule, but since there’s nothing to laugh at or mock, it just came off as trying to celebrate the horrible things that happened to the people of the Americas at the hands of the “colonizers.”

    There was definitely a need to get the administration involved, seeing as appealing to the group leaders had no success.

    Lastly, the event was not private. The guest list did not only include people from LASO and YEU, even before the students who voiced their opinions joined the event in order to speak out.

  • Shiquan Jr.

    Wow, are people really defending colonialism here? Let’s review:

    -Genocide/near-extinction of many Amerindian peoples, especially in Caribbean
    -Brutal enslavement of natives in Belgian Congo for resource extraction
    -Massacre in Amritsar, India 1919
    -Opium Wars in China resulting in mass drug addiction

    I could go on and on. Look, the party deserved to be called out. The organizers can’t just say “oh my bad, I didn’t do it on purpose” and then expect everyone to be happy. Ignorance is not a valid defense. People need to be aware of what they’re advertising when they say something like this. If they’re not aware, then they better learn fast.

  • embarrassed to go to Yale

    First- can someone let me know what my colonized attire is??? am i a slave forcibly brought from Africa or a indigenous female about to be raped and beaten????

    To Sensible’11 specifically- you have got to be kidding me….the good outweighs the bad??? WHAT GOOD???? im sorry are you referring to the genocide and the complete obstructions of ENTIRE groups of People?! how about YOU open up a book and read up on your history. No genocide can be justified with the “advancement” of anything and just for the record the civilizations such as the Mayas, Incas and Aztec were very much ADVANCED WITH THEIR OWN TECHNOLOGY. Who are the europeans to say they needed saving???

    and to H- there was plenty of CULTURE, ART LANGUAGE and LITERACY before the colonizers came and wiped them out with their diseases, murder rape and genocide

    To everyone who argees with this theme- how bout you get over YOURSELF and realize that we do not live in a post racial society, just because You are benefiting from the effect of colonialism does not mean that everyone else around the world is and just a thought how bout you read a book and/or open up a newspaper and realize that colonialism is very much alive and running in todays society.

  • @@H

    “This is ridiculous that you expect people to stay quiet when they see a form of injustice or ignorance like this.”

    The reason it’s a problem isn’t because he objected, it’s because the perpetrators of this ‘injustice’ aren’t some nameless, faceless people but his peers and classmates. And when, instead of going to them when you have a problem, you go to deans and friends to build a public campaign against them, it tears at the social fabric of this campus (not to say that a ‘colonized and colonizer’ theme doesn’t. I think when we can get to that point where we’re laughing at painful parts of our history just like we laugh at other parts, we’re probably doing well. But I understand that reasonable people can differ on that.). These folks are the people that we see everyday, and shouldn’t be treated as enemies against whom we must publicly mobilize when they were just trying to hold a private social event – certainly not as a first response.

  • So it sounds like what happened was the YEU sailed into LASO headquarters, took over, and forced LASO to accept the party theme of “Colonizers and Colonized.” Yeah, I agree, that’s terrible.

  • Timeica

    The ignorance running rampant on the comment page is disgusting. I think the party theme was tasteless, disrespectful and ignorant. The “open forum” that these two groups will hold later to discuss the theme is a half-hearted attempt to clear the air when it is clear that neither group sees anything wrong with it.

    @ #25 – Just because it happened before does not mean it should happen again. Maybe people were too afraid to speak up 2 years ago but I am NOT afraid to speak up now.

    I would really like to know what the “colonized” people were supposed to wear to this event? Are there slave costumes somewhere?

    There is just way to much to say about this nonsense.

    Also, I don’t hide behind anonymity. If you have anything to say about my comments, PLEASE contact me directly.

  • Disappointed

    How could someone possibly have been upset by the idea of attending a party that “strongly encouraged” they were colonized attire? Possibly be upset by the idea of celebrating to a theme representing hundreds of years of colonialism, fueled by a racism that countless people of many cultures have fought their lives against? Upset that their peers could dismiss their feelings with remarks that “colonialism wasn’t all that bad” and sarcasm about getting their “wittle feewings hurt”?

    Contrary to what some of you might think, some of us are still struggling through the effects of colonialism. Some of us grew up listening to a grandmother’s stories about her own mother’s life as a slave, for example. Some of us realize that colonialism isn’t a trivial joke meant to be used for our cheap entertainment, meant as an excuse to celebrate in our slave attire. So yes, I feel that my disappointment is justified and no, I’m not just a crazy person trying to censor everyone. I’m just someone who didn’t understand how no one in these groups took a second to practice some self-awareness and consider that it might be wrong to have people dressed as “colonizers and colonized” and drink up to the idea of such a wonderful theme. I’m sure that all they wanted was some excuse to throw a party, but the manner in which they went about it was… distasteful, to say the least.

    As for #26, forgive me if I don’t really care about what you do with your $20 loincloth, but I’d be happy to offer some suggestions.

  • Oh, Please.


  • Juan Diaz

    News to PC police: Yale is the direct result of colonialism. Were it not for colonialism, there would be no Yale. There is nothing wrong with having people take sides at a party and mingle as if we were back in colonial times. Some intelligent conversation could actually take place between the two sides, and actually enlighten both on the issues that led to the rise and subsequent demise of colonial rule. But the PC police has no interest in allowing campus groups to learn from each other in a fun and social setting. They must take out their PC clubs and subjugate the campus community to their tyrannical rule. I say it is time to overthrown the PC police and let freedom prevail. Time to overthrow their colonial rule!

  • bernal diaz de las casas

    Ok. Now, a few facts. The Aztecs DID NOT have a writing system. The closest thing they had was “codexes”, pictographical depictions of events —much like comic books, but without words. The Incas DID NOT have a writing system either. The Mayans did, but lost it to violent infighting and endless civil wars. ALL of the prehispanic civilizations had OPPRESIVE social structures and regimes.

    That being said, the Spaniards did awful, awful things and nothing can justify that. However, Colonization was not going from GOOD to BAD, rather it was just going from BAD TO BAD. The Aztecs themselves were colonizers and slave-owners, having descended from the northen lands and conquered the older Tlaxcaltec populations.

    So, yeah. Sorry to tell you guys, but in this case we are all opressors, and the Golden Age was never there. We are all Mestizos, and BOTH of the sides of our inheretance are sad, opressing and barbaric. Such is the Drama of our identity.

    The real problem here is, I think, that mecha and la casa represent mostly immigrant communities, which are by the most part economically disadvantaged. On the other hand, laso people are the children of the elite, sent to get an american education in order to be better petty dictactors.

    The problem here is a class problem, but like most class problems in america it is shrouded in racial, ethnic and historicist clothes. Americans (and especially yalies) seem to be really afraid of saying that the fact that some of them are poor and others rich makes them uncomfortable and conflicted.

    On the side of laso there is burgeoise/aristocratic lightnes —nothing matters, everything is a joke.

    On the side of la casa there is resentment and heavyness —to people that define themselves in terms of being constantly offended, everything is an offense.

    I think that laso should be a little more discrete, and that la casa should read a little more latin american history and see what leftism has done to the region.

  • Colonialism may have made the world what it is today, with advancements in technology, art, literature and government that would not have been seen without it.

    But it also meant untold numbers of innocent people raped, enslaved, tortured, exiled and murdered because of European ignorance and greed.

    History is complex. Should we forget that colonialism happened? No. We DO owe Yale to colonialism. But being proud of Yale does NOT have to mean also being proud of the subjugation of Africans and American Indians that went into building Yale and subsequently America.

    Should the the YEU and LASO hold discussions about the complex history of colonialism, the good and the bad that came of it? Absolutely. Should they glorify it, particularly the subjugation of indigenous cultures, by using it as a party theme? Absolutely not.

    It’s not about being PC. It’s about having respect for those who suffered while the world became what it is today–and those (e.g. indigenous groups in Latin America) who continue to suffer as a result of colonization. The Aztecs and Incas also did their fair share of colonization, genocide, rape and enslavement. The Chinese treated minority groups in China brutally (the Hmong, for example) before the British got them all addicted to opium. And the South Asian caste systems weren’t shining examples of equality. So even brown people have histories of violence and oppression that we don’t want to glorify. But the truth is, we don’t. For some reason, it’s always white subjugation of brown people that gets glorified. And that makes me, at least, incredibly uncomfortable, and it warrants some serious examination.

  • another y09

    putting aside the obvious debate over colonialism, i’m surprised nobody has mentioned what a lame party idea this is. only at yale could someone come up with a theme so nerdy and offensive.

  • Jordon Walker

    The extent of ignorance on this campus is astounding and, in all honesty, not the lest bit surprising. Those who think that such a theme is appropriate are obviously misguided beyond belief.

    Really, what constitutes colonized attire? That aspect was the most egregious, somebody somewhere should have recognized that people would be offended. And yes, for those who hail from the colonizers, it is easy to dismiss the wrongs and injustices of the past–and I certainly don’t fault you for doing so, after all we are all self-centered–but callously referencing and condoning the trivialization of an entire era of oppression and repression is tantamount to countenance.

  • SM ’88

    I like the fact that there is a dance called “Freshman Screw” and that people rose to defend its honor by nixing a particular theme because it might offend people.

  • HIS Prof

    No one posting in this forum on either side of the debate has displayed evidence that she possesses even a rudimentary understanding of “colonialism.”

  • Y09

    Have to agree with the professor here. The comments above are all steeped in ideology and reveal no level of critical thinking despite pretenses of factual authority. What is a colony? What period does “colonialism” represent? There was a unique blending of factors that contributed to how each state embraced a policy of global expansion over the past four centuries (and many academics consider much of this expansion to be anything but planned, coordinated, malignant in intent. British expansion tended to be haphazard and random. German colonies perhaps developed in a different way…) I can also think of several former colonies that also later expanded their territories.

    Try not to start lobbing baseless historical fact-bombs when we can agree that the party was simply poorly conceived.


    Progressives constantly run away from the past of humanity, as if they are somehow different. The history of this nation and many nations is littered with the blood of my people, but I harbor no ill-will for the blood spilled. I do not think we should simply sweep it under the rug, nor set it ‘off-limits’ to humor.

  • hmm

    While we’re at it, let’s change the name of Calhoun College to something less offensive to African Americans!

    I find this whole discussion laughable.

  • confused guy

    I am from a Latin American country (born and raised there), and every year when we studied colonialism in school (even high school), it did not have this heavy, charged connotation that it seems to have here in the US. I was surprised when I heard about the uproar regarding the party theme. Even though I understand why it could be controversial, I had no idea it was so offensive, and that the word “colonized” would have such a heavy impact on the Yale community. I didn’t realize it was one more of those words that can’t be said without provoking strong feelings in some people. Maybe these organizations did pick a theme that is too sensitive, but, in my experience, I had no idea this word would cause so many reactions.

  • Fools

    The use of the words colonialism, colony, or colonize is not offensive in academia. It IS offensive when you make such light, flippant use of them in a party theme. What were the colonized people supposed to wear?

    People commenting are NOT truly reading everyone else’s comments. I think 51 and 52 got it straight.

  • @ His Prof

    Wow I am profoundly embarrassed that you teach at my University. I understand that students hide behind the mask of the internet, but to have a professor insult the very students he or she is charged with guiding do the same is utterly shameful.

  • I said it’s…

    too late to colonize…’s too lateeeeee! I said it’s too late to colonize….it’s too lateeee!

  • Silliman ’80

    Virtually every group of people has been an oppressor or the oppressed over the course of human history. How about, any one who feels badly that their ancestors were ‘colonized’ go dressed as a ‘colonizer’. Maybe it will feel a little like a touch of ‘reparation’.

  • Tanner

    Apparently in today’s Yale, colonization is a “code” word for pillage and plunder. Are today’s history professors grief counselors for the centuries of ancestral guilt their students have had to live with.

  • Word Prof

    Comes from the word Colon. Meaning intestinal in origin. This means that one thing is absorbed into another and the nutrients feed the whole. I think its bad. This party was off the handle and must be stopped. I will attend to see how bad things get.

  • Juan Diaz

    When I was at Yale, the problem with MECHA was that they always viewed themselves as victims and outsiders. When you view yourself in this way, you never reap the benefits of attending a place like Yale. It’s sad that MECHA took the lead on this issue. This issue did not concern MECHA at all. Every group has a history of being colonized or being colonizers, and if two campus groups want to take this as their theme for a social gathering, why does this concern MECHA at all? If you do not like the theme, don’t sponsor the event and don’t attend. Learn that your sensibilities are not shared by other groups on campus. Learn not to view yourself as the victim. You have arrived at Yale. You are no longer the victim but are now part of the establishment. Live and let live and you will finally feel at home in your success.

  • The Lorax

    We as a society celebrate the victory and success of colonization every year on Columbus Day. Why it is even a federal holiday. Based on that, I’d say the dominant culture doesn’t seem to have a problem with colonizer/colonized. So while I find Columbus Day and this party ridiculously offensive and ignorant, it certainly isn’t like the party planners are really straying too far from our institutionalized glorification of genocide that Columbus Day inherently celebrates. We need to get some societal perspective on why we celebrate Columbus Day before we can take these groups too much to task.

  • Y ’13

    This is clearly a case of PC-ness gone rampant.

    I’m friends with one of the social chairs in YEU, who told me that it was LASO’s idea for the name of the party. They thought it would be funny. YEU, hesitant, but going along with LASO, supported the name. I will admit that when I originally saw the name for the party, I thought the name was in poor taste. However, if LASO can laugh about it, so can I.

    Oh and Yale wouldn’t be here if some European country didn’t come and colonize the Americas.

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