A University of Virginia fraternity is reeling after a group of protesters shut down their "cops and robbers" themed party, claiming that the event made light of “systems that kill and brutalize marginalized communities.”
The frat, Delta Psi, held the get-together as a sort of "house warming," welcoming members back to school after a summer away. The party had a strict, if sketchy, dress code: men were required to wear orange prison jumpsuits, while women were required to attend the party dressed in their best "sexy cop" costume.
But what was supposed to be an evening of revelry was interrputed by a campus group called Students United Virginia, which says they promote social justice, and fight incidents of white supremacy and facism on campus. While they did an admirable job protesting actual white supremacists who invaded the campus several weeks ago, this was not one of their finer moments.
After an hour of back-and-forth between partygoers and members of Students United — and a few threats of violence — the fraternity finally gave in and called the real cops on demonstrators, some of whom were eventually led off the property.
After they were booted, Students United took to Facebook to explain why they took issue with the fraternity party.
“These ‘costumes’ make a joke of mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex, systems that disproportionately brutalize people of color,” they said in the Facebook post. “The predominantly white members of this fraternity got to take their costumes off at the end of the night, people trapped in the prison system do not.”
“Historically, the police have justified violence against people of color in the name of protecting white women, and in wearing these costumes, these women made a joke of that legacy of violence,” they went on.
The party-goers, of course, were apologetic when confronted, and most told Students United that they were sorry they caused such harm to their fellow classmates. The group responded on social media by accusing them of white supremacy. “During confrontations with people at the party, the majority of partygoers asserted that they had no intention of ‘offending or hurting anyone.’ It’s this kind of willful ignorance that allows white supremacy to continue," they wrote.