WESTWOOD—A fraternity says that no one wore blackface to the recent “Rachel Dolezal”-themed party that sparked protests on campus last week. The fraternity claimed that impersonating Rachel Dolezal is not in fact blackface, but black-on-white-face, as she is a white person who was claiming to be black.
The retort came amidst student protests, which demanded UCLA administration to publicly state that the white students dressing to resemble a white woman who was dressing to resemble a black woman were being racist, the Daily Bruin reported. They displayed signs stating, “Our culture being stolen by another culture is not a costume.”
UCLA’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon posted a statement Thursday regarding the media and student backlash.
“Rachel Dolezal is white,” the chapter said. “So anyone who darkened their skin at our party was only doing so in whiteface because Rachel Dolezal is in fact, white. Although some guests wore black face paint, they were playing Rachel Dolezal, who was playing a black member of the NAACP. They were in black-on-white face, or ‘Rachel Dolezal’ face, a term we coined that night.”
“It’s important we put this to rest,” the chapter continued. “Some of our guests attended the event dressed as Rachel Dolezal, some as other white people who wore blackface, but their attire had nothing to do with race. They were simply playing themselves playing someone who is in fact, racist. That’s not racist, is it?”
No photos have emerged depicting anyone in strict blackface, although some have surfaced showing members ranging from charcoal to maskara-face. Sigma Phi Epsilon has insisted that those are all variants of “Rachel Dolezal”-face.
Members of the Afrikan Student Union, which helped organize the demonstrations on campus, could not immediately be reached for comment.