UC Irvine Fraternity Apologizes for Racist Incident

     

    UC Irvine’s Lambda Theta Delta fraternity — the largest Asian-American fraternity at the university — apologized on Friday for a controversial music video depicting a member lip-syncing in blackface makeup to the Justin Timberlake song “Suit and Tie.” 

    “We want to ensure everyone that this video does not represent the views of the collective house,” LTD said in a Facebook post. “With that being said, it does acknowledge the fact that we have some ignorant individuals within our organization, with whom we have already dealt with ourselves.”

    The video featured fraternity brothers Justin T. Nguyen, Tony D. Duong and Philip Lam dancing while dressed in formal suits, with brother Rainier Nanquil portraying rapper Jay-Z in blackface.

    According to a statement from LTD president Darius Obana, the action was not intended to be offensive; when released on YouTube on April 16, the music video included the description: “No racism intended. All fun and laughter.” 

    Nevertheless, the fraternity received a great deal of backlash from several student organizations across the campus.

    In a statement to NY Daily News, the UC Irvine Asian Pacific Student Association said that the LTD is not a constituent of the APSA, separating itself from the fraternity.

    “We, the Black Student Union, will no longer stand for the continuous disrespect of our community,” the university’s Black Student Union said in an official statement. “This is a UC system wide issue, and ultimately, a world-wide issue. Anti-Blackness and racism is reproduced within each UC campus, whether in the form of nooses at UC San Diego or Ku Klux Klan hoods in UC Davis.”

    According to UC Irvine Chancellor Michael Drake, the university is currently investigating the incident.

    “We will use this regrettable incident to redouble campus education efforts about the toxic effects of insensitivity and will continue to work toward building a truly inclusive community,” Drake said.

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