Racially charged images circulate Xavier’s campus, fueling firestorm

Xavier University
Xavier University

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WLWT/WDTN) — Racially-charged images distributed on social media by Xavier University students is making its rounds online.

The university’s president is weighing in, calling them “unacceptable.”

Photos appear to show a young woman in blackface and a skeleton wearing a Dashiki
Photos appear to show a young woman in blackface and a skeleton wearing a Dashiki

The photo posted on a Snapchat story is stirring up a firestorm on Xavier’s campus, according to our affiliates WLWT.

The caption reads: “Who needs white when black lives matter.”

“I was absolutely shocked, and heartbroken that somebody would do such a thing, and treat it as a joke when really it’s a serious matter,” student Simone Flucker said.

“I want people to realize this is bigger than someone painting their face with black paint. This is history, hundreds of years of oppression on behalf of black and brown bodies,” student Charla Henderson said to WLWT. “To channel that message means you’re channeling all that hurt and hatred.”

The photo has been saved and circulated all over dorms and classrooms.

“I definitely, immediately was like, ‘Oh she meant it to be a joke,’ but watching that kind of a thing go on, it’s such a big issue in our community, so watching it was kind of upsetting because it’s definitely, it’s hurtful,” student Abigail Bowling said.

Another photo circulating on social media shows a skeleton in African attire hanging from a ceiling.

Niara Jones said she saw the display across her dorm before it was taken down.

“I think it’s a very scary thing, especially to wake up in the morning and see that, because I live right across the hall from the person who had the Dashiki and the skeleton,” student Niara Jones said. “It’s a very scary thing and we need to take action about it.”

Xavier University’s President Father Mike Graham responded to the images in a letter.

“I am outraged and deeply troubled by recent racist images connected to Xavier students. Racist actions are unacceptable on our campus, and we have mechanisms to respond in a responsible and thoughtful manner. When one of us falls short, we all fall short.

Many of our students, of all races, are in pain over this. Steps are being taken to make sure that all members of the Xavier community know that we must act with integrity, justice and generosity, in solidarity for and with each other. Please be assured this is being addressed on campus through a variety of channels.

I will personally continue to stay on top of this and keep you updated.”

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