Students at the University of Pennsylvania staged a mock slave auction outside of a fraternity house to protest the fact that a Beyonce blow-up doll had appeared in its Christmas-card photo more than four months ago.
The purpose of the auction, led by a campus social-justice group called Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation (“SOUL”), was to tie the purchase of the blow-up doll in December to the purchase of actual human beings in the times of slavery, according to an article in the Daily Pennsylvanian, the school’s official student newspaper.
One of the protesters, senior Victoria Ford, stood outside of the Phi Delta Theta house on Friday “on a box with plastic chains around her neck” and read a poem intended to express the serious impact the blow-up doll has had on her life.
“For four months, I have walked in front of this house and have lost all sense of worth,” she said, according to the Pennsylvanian. “No more.”
When the controversy originally hit headlines in December, Phi Delta apologized and explained that the doll was just something that one member had given to another in a Secret Santa gift exchange as a joke — and definitely not a severely “misogynistic, racist offense” that required “serious and immediate need for repercussions that reflect the severity,” as Penn’s NAACP president Keishawn Johnson said it was at the time.
In addition to the apology and explanation, the chapter was placed on probation by its national leadership in January and and forced to complete both cultural sensitivity and sexual and relationship misconduct training. Apparently, however, some students believe all of this was just not enough punishment for having the wrong inflatable item in a picture more than four months ago.
#related#“We haven’t forgotten about this and remain unsatisfied with the University’s response and punishment of Phi Delta Theta,” SOUL stated on a Facebook page last Tuesday.
In a post encouraging people to attend, the group stated that it didn’t “wish to disturb white male spaces” just for the sake of disturbing them, but rather “must shatter the institutions and social conditions that incentivize their unconscious desire for dominance over and disrespect of black women.”
SOUL’s mission is to “elevate the political and social consciousness of the student body at Penn, expose the wealth of inequalities in our society, and educate the masses on how to take action,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
One fraternity member also attended the slave-auction event, according to the Pennsylvanian.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review.