Campus Free Speech

Millikin Fraternities Told Face-Painting Is Cultural Appropriation and Will Be Punished

There is no ethnic group that owns the color blue.

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Neighbors
Screenshot via Neighbors 2

It's a tradition common to all peoples and cultures, but face and body painting is now off limits to Millikin University fraternity brothers.

An administrator in the university's Office for Diversity and Inclusion sent a sternly-worded email to Tau Kappa Epislon, informing its members that they would be punished if they painted their faces during a recruitment event.

"Members… are prohibited from wearing black and red paint, wigs and/or clothing items that mimic or depict an ethnicity or culture," wrote administrator Nicki Rowlett in her email, according to Campus Reform. "Failure to comply with the expectation will result in immediate removal from the event, and additional student conduct sanctions."

Some context: various fraternity brothers typically paint themselves in their organization's colors during recruitment. There shouldn't be any problem with this, because it isn't outlandish or offensive. It's certainly not appropriative. People paint themselves in their team's colors when they go to games. They wear school spirit colors at pep rallies. This is not appropriation—it's not stealing from anyone else's culture. It's a respectful tribute to a shared culture: the fraternity's culture. No specific tribe owns the colors blue.

So why is this a problem? Apparently, some students complained last year. Millikin is a private institution, and it can do whatever it wants. But the only morally defensible course of action here was to ignore the complaints.

"It is my hope that the men of [TKE] utilize this as an educational opportunity to explore the concept of intent vs. impact with regard to cultural appropriation," wrote Rowlett.

It is my hope that the Office of Diversity Inclusion will recognize that no one is harmed or demeaned by face-paint.

NEXT: Brickbat: The People Have Spoken

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  1. This is not appropriation?it’s not stealing from anyone else’s culture.

    Even if it were, so what?

    1. And what does “stealing from a culture” even mean?

      It must be a matter of intellectual property law.

      1. The only thing I can come up with is something like the British removing a shitload of Egyptian artifacts and not giving them back when the country went independent?

        1. And that’s kind of a load of crap too. It might be stealing, but modern Arab Egyptians are no more connected to ancient Egyptian culture than I am.

      2. Most anthropologists would call it “cultural assimilation.” Except when evil white people do it. Then it’s cultural appropriation.

        I wish I could say I was being facetious but the SJWs honestly fucking believe this.

        1. All my ancestors, as well as my wife’s are from Germany or the British isles. There are also a lot of eastern European folks who moved to my hometown. By being a melting pot, we got to appropriate their food. I love pierogies and kielbasi and halushki and halupki, and I always make sure to stop by the Syrian Orthodox church down the street whenever they have a food sale. A few years ago I was at the yearly festival at nearby St. Patrick’s Catholic church, where they served all the above named Polish & Slovak foods. When I asked, I was told that those Irish folks served the best Hunky food in town!

      3. It means non-Whites gotta stop driving cars flying planes and using computers, vaccines and antibiotics.

        1. I keep remembering how the black guy challenged the white guy for wearing dreadlocks and the white guy took the abuse very apologetically.

          I would have told the MFer to strip off all his clothes then and cover himself with some piece of animal skin OR STFU.

          Everybody knows that clothing made from manufactured materials is a white thing.

          Everybody knows that.

          1. I would have told the MFer to strip off all his clothes then and cover himself with some piece of animal skin OR STFU.

            That would not have ended well for you

    2. Indeed. The whole notion that cultural appropriation is by itself a bad thing in any way is just idiotic.

    3. If this passes as “cultural appropriation” then I think whites should be given retributions for cultural theft of Skeltonical verse (also known as ‘rap’).

      1. no, whites are the villains

        #killallwhites

    4. It can’t be “appropriation” because it’s impossible to “steal” ideas, styles, whatever from a “culture”.

      Here’s what they mean:
      “White people, but nobody else, are prohibited from wearing black and red paint, wigs and/or clothing items that mimic or depict an ethnicity or culture.”

      1. I’d ask them to tell me which specific culture is represented by black and red paint.

  2. “Members? are prohibited from wearing black and red paint, wigs and/or clothing items that mimic or depict an ethnicity or culture,” wrote administrator Nicki Rowlett in her email

    But it’s OK for Nikki to wear red face paint? What a hypocrite!

    1. In her spare time, Nicki enjoys volunteering, working out, and catching up on her latest TV show.

      Ha.

      1. So, … would?

        1. Zac Efron? Yes.

      2. “Nicki Rowlett is the Assistant Directof of Inclusion and Student Engagement here at Millikin University where she is responsible for oversight and management of fraternity and sorority life. ”

        I thought fraternities and sororities were all about exclusion.

        (and this women has no spare time to work out, with all those Greeks to police)

    2. “Greek advisor”. That means in the butt, right?

      1. And kids wonder why college costs so much. Some shitty college has a person being paid full time to manage fraternity and sorority life?

    3. Nicki recieved her bachelors degree in Organizational Communication, Event Management, and Leadership from Central Michigan University in May 2013. She recieved her masters degree in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education and a certificate in College and University Teaching from Ball State University in May 2015. Prior to coming to Millikin, Nicki worked at Arizona State University and Emory University.

      Sounds like it didn’t her long to wear out her welcome at ASU and Emory. Or at least I hope that’s what happened. In all likelihood though the ASU and Emory jobs were probably internships or something.

      1. Maybe an intense fear of sidewalk chalk drove her from Emory?

    4. ” Assistant Directof of Inclusion and Student Engagement ”

      Typo aside…..have you ever heard a more bullshit job title?

  3. tl;dr

    But I assume it’s the colors (black and red were mentioned) that is the problem? So use yellow!

    1. And stop chanting “Howyadoinhowyadoin”!

      1. Wasn’t the line from that Indian comedian from the 70s “HiHowAreYou, HiHowAreYou”? Hope so, ’cause I’ve been referring to it that way for over 40 years.

        1. Stop *that*, too — you, you cultural appropriator!

        2. I can confirm that the line is “HiHowAreYa, HiHowAreYa”

          Man my brain is cluttered with useless trivia.

  4. Is this just a way for every shitty little college I’ve never heard of (no offense Millikin alumni) to get noticed?

    1. No. It’s a way for them to lose funding and enrollment.

    2. Millikin is a Presbyterian college in Decatur, Illinois – otherwise known for being the HQ of ADM and home of a huge-ass corn processing plant. If not the buckle of the corn belt, pretty close to it. If I had to guess, a hot-bed of SJW activism it ain’t and if anything, it’s the administration imposing their culture on the student body with this nonsense. (Kinda reminds me of all the protests about that backwoods swamp snake-handling church preacher threatening to burn the Koran and all the squawking about how disrespectful of other cultures those Bible-thumpin’ NASCAR-watchin’ Budweiser-swillin’ three-toothed inbred moron trailer-trash meth-head rednecks are and how glad we are that we’re not the sorts of people who would denigrate another culture.)

      1. Remember, all cultures are equal and must be treated with respect. Except for redneck culture. Because poor white trailer trash are “priveleged.”

        Let that sink in a moment…

  5. Can’t the frat bros just claim that they identify as red? Then they would have to be accepted as REALLY red, and pointing out that the red was just paint would be bigotry.

  6. I guess the only thing white men can dress up in is a white rob and hood or a skirt.

    1. I prefer Black Rob.

      TW: profane hip-hop. Whoa!

    2. White men are the only creatures on earth born purely evil, and probably shouldn’t even be allowed to live.

      1. This is what SJWs actually believe, although they usually don’t come right out and say it so blatantly.

        1. “they usually don’t come right out and say it so blatantly”

          You haven’t been on Tumblr lately…

        2. they usually don’t come right out and say it so blatantly.

          Not until the guns have all been forcibly confiscated and the ones who weren’t killed by police for “clinging to their guns” are in the box cars headed for the camps anyway.

        3. I’ve frequently read, in plenty blatant terms, that white people are a “problem race”. Including strong implications that something needs to be done about this problem.
          We’re the new Jews.

      2. White people aren’t born, moron. We were bred in a lab by the evil black scientist, Yakbb to torment black people for their sins.

        This, by the way, is what Louis Farrakhan actually said when he was invited to speak at my college campus. Funny how he was still invited to come and speak his nonsense. Everybody survived.

        1. Oh yeah, and we wore a culturally appropriated suit and bow tie.

  7. robe,crap

  8. There is no ethnic group that owns the color blue.

    What about the Blue Man Group?

      1. The woad-wearing picts are gone. They were either killed by or absorbed by the Irish when they conquered pictland (and later became Scots)

        1. As a descendant of Highland Scots, I object to anyone using blue face paint because KULTURAL APPROPRIASHUNZ!!!!

          1. English suburbs do not a culture make.

    1. That’s a performance art group, not an ethnic one.

      1. Tomayto, tomahto.

    2. Did you forget about the Smurfs?

    3. smurfs?

  9. Millikin University’s school colors are suspiciously close to those of the flag of Greece. I hereby pass moral judgment on Millikin University for its cultural appropriation.

    1. However, to be fair, “Millikin” does sound kind of Greek.

    1. Damn, those Juggalos be old school!

    2. THAT’S NOT OK.

  10. “It is my hope that the men of [TKE] utilize this as an educational opportunity to explore the concept of intent vs. impact with regard to cultural appropriation,” wrote Rowlett.

    And it is my hope that you are ridiculed unmercifully until you resign in shame.

  11. I can’t even…

    comprehend what the hell is going through college administrators’ minds anymore.

  12. Members? are prohibited from wearing black and red paint…

    Then just wear black paint.

    1. An excellent loophole! I’m sure this will work and not cause any other histrionic responses from the school administration.

    2. RACIST STUDENTS WEAR BLACKFACE AT FRATERNITY EVENT OMG OMG OMG!!!

  13. clothing items that mimic or depict an ethnicity or culture

    So, they have to go naked? Because khakis and polo shirts are an ethnic/cultural garb just as much as a kilt or a toga.

  14. I assumed this was joke headline. Then I read it. It is.

  15. You know, it is really pretty racist of the college administration to assume that only the “protected” ethnicities have ever worn facepaint. That’s not ok.

      1. As a descendant of William Wallace, i literally can’t even.

      2. Of course, the Picts/Scots hadn’t worn blue face paint for centuries prior to Wallace, and they wouldn’t wear kilts until centuries later. But I guess it would have been boring for them to dress in armor like the English, as they did at that time in reality.

    1. Yes, it actually is, and that will be their undoing. It will be made more delicious when their own anthropology professors are subpoenaed to testify about that, which will also establish that the institution as a whole should have known better.

      1. I can’t wait until some needlessly persecuted student sacks up and pushes back.

  16. Which culture are they appropriating from? Shouldn’t the administration have specified that?

    1. Yes. And they need to have a clear set of rules in place. Someday the administration of a public college will badly and clumsily overreach on that and FIRE is going to sue them and win and thus begin the dismantling of this PC nonsense.

      1. Check out Mr. Optimist over here.

    2. Wearing face paint to portray yourself as another ethnicity is primarily a white phenomenon, at least in America. So…the school is preventing them from being a part of their own culture?

      1. Whoa. That’s metaproblematic.

        1. If only Millikin had that absolutely brilliant online tool to report microaggressions.

        2. Wait…I wonder if we can use that BRT thing to report microaggressions at other universities…

          1. I don’t see why we shouldn’t try.

      2. Also, +1 Boston Tea Party.

    1. I wonder if those Ruskie re-enactors allow teams from Mongolia. It would be kind of a downer though when the fake Subutai kicked your ass.

  17. What the hell is wrong with the students? Seems to me the only appropriate response to this shit is “fuck you”.

    1. Agree. I really don’t get it. But when I was a kid back in the 60’s we used to tell people that tried to boss us around, “Hey, it’s a free country.” Kids don’t say that anymore, do they ?

      1. ‘Cause they’d be wrong.

      2. “There is no freedom to hate!!!”

  18. It is my hope that the Office of Diversity Inclusion will recognize that no one is harmed or demeaned by face-paint

    Is that clear enough for you Gilmore, you silly fussbudget .

  19. Hope in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up faster.

    1. “It is my shit that the Office of Diversity Inclusion will recognize that no one is harmed or demeaned by face-paint”

      I don’t know if that really works.

    2. My father taught me a lot of things, and that was one.

      Wish in one hand, shit in the other see which fills up faster.

      I just wish he had taught me about analogies first.

    3. Ask a Venezuelan. They’ve been out of toilet paper for weeks, so no doubt they’ve had opportunity to experiment.

  20. I thought the Greek system was supposed to connect you to the halls of power in the real world. Where are the hotshot attorneys riding in on their white Mercedes to sue the school and win one for their social club?

    1. Isn’t calling it a “Greek” system in the first place cultural appropriation from the people of Greece?

      1. Why yes, yes it is.

  21. No specific tribe owns the colors blue.

    The Scotts maybe? Oh wait, they’re white and therefore irrelevant.

    It is my hope that the Office of Diversity Inclusion will recognize that no one is harmed or demeaned by face-paint be shut down and this dumb cunt will have to try and get a real job.

  22. I think it is about time fraternities remember why they formed in the first place and perform their original function.

    1. Yep, I’d say so. I was a member of Sigma Alpha Mu back in the early 1990s and I imagine our response would have been to wear facepaint anyway and dare the administration to do something. Knowing how I am know, I’d probably go to that dumb cunt’s office and tell her to her face to go fuck herself and to mind her own goddamn business.

  23. For Mother’s Day, I went out with my parents and siblings to a kosher Chinese (or rather “Asian”) restaurant. It serves mostly Chinese food, but is staffed by observant Jews. Is that “cultural appropriation”? The one Asian-looking person who works there – a Japanese man who runs the sushi bar – presumably doesn’t have a problem with it.

    1. Nah, jews are an oppressed victim class and therefore are allowed to appropriate other cultures. Or do they count as white oppressors because “Israel”? Anyone got a copy of the latest SJW handbook?

      1. “Where’s that conversion chart?”

  24. That guy in Whiteface in the pic at the link is just problematic!

    1. Maybe he figured that was the only color paint he could wear without incurring the wrath of the SJW brigade?

    2. Wait. I just clicked through to the article and saw the frat guys painted in their colors. Which culture exactly are they appropriating ? They aren’t doing blackface or dressing as any cultural stereotype that I can see. Looks like a bunch of boisterous frat boys doin’ stupid shit like painting themselves in their colors……Ohhhhh….I think I see the real problem now.

  25. So I assume the Millikin football players can no longer paint black lines under their eyes?

  26. Just whose culture does face-painting appropriate… clowns?

    Isn’t it OK since Millikin is, in fact, a clown college?

    1. American fratboy and sports fan culture seems to have their own particular kind of face painting tradition.

      This one is particularly stupid. Is there any culture that doesn’t have some kind of face or body painting tradition? Seems to be something that people came up with independently in many times and places.

  27. There shouldn’t be any problem with this, because it isn’t outlandish or offensive. It’s certainly not appropriative. People paint themselves in their team’s colors when they go to games. They wear school spirit colors at pep rallies. This is not appropriation?it’s not stealing from anyone else’s culture. It’s a respectful tribute to a shared culture: the fraternity’s culture. No specific tribe owns the colors blue.

    Sounds like you’re ceding a lot of ground here, Robby. Even if it were “outlandish or offensive” that’s not a problem for anyone but the person choosing to take offense. Cultural appropriation isn’t even a thing, if it is a thing, it isn’t “stealing” in any sense of the word, ever.

    I’ll assume for the sake of the Defend Robby Brigade that Robby isn’t implicitly endorsing these bullshit SJW innovations as anything meriting recognition, but one could certainly see how this pandering to SJW sensibilities to disuade them of their sensibilities will only validate it in their minds. Let’s not enable them insofar as we’re able.

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  29. Which ethnicity was supposed to be mimicked by red & black? Or did she mean red or black? Not clear whether it’s the combination or either of those colors. If it was red or black, and in the way of a covering rather than a design, then it would clearly be redskins & blacks. But if it was the combination, I’m mystified.

  30. As an Italian, I find it offensive to watch non-Italians eat pizza.

    1. You’ll have to pry my pizza from my cold, dead hands!

      Related: Is sausage pizza triggering to feminists?

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  33. I wrote and asked her:

    “Isn’t referring to your fraternal organizations as “Greek” (as stated on your staff biography) appropriative of the people of Greece? What do they think of their good name being associated with drunk licentious frat boys (and girls)?”

  34. PCSpeak: Cultural appropriation.

    English: White people acting like primitives.

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  38. Tuition at Millikin University: $31,032 (not including room and board).

  39. RE: Millikin Fraternities Told Face-Painting Is Cultural Appropriation and Will Be Punished
    There is no ethnic group that owns the color blue. Millikin is a private institution, and it can do whatever it wants. But the only morally defensible course of action here was to ignore the complaints.

    These people must be punished.
    They are making fun of the Blue People in Las Vegas.
    Besides, since when was there freedom of expression in Amerika?

  40. Every member of every fraternity and sorority at this school should wear face paint every day until that stupid cow either resigns or gets fired.

    -jcr

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