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Hip-Hop Night

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, March 26, 2009

Choosing to come to Notre Dame during my senior year in high school was one of the most important decisions in my life. I had to choose a place to learn, live, and grow for the next four years while attaining a degree that’d be with me forever. I chose Notre Dame for obvious reasons. The University’s academic reputation, athletic traditions, and commitment to Christianity are just a few of the characteristics that I’m sure draw all of us to this school. However, the quality of the people here is what impacted me the most during my visits and led me to decide to come to the Dome.

Unfortunately this past Saturday, for the first time in my five and one half semesters here, I wondered if I had made the right choice. On Saturday the student group Wabruda brought Taalam Acey, a popular spoken word poet, into Legends for a show to be followed by Hip-Hop Night. I thought it’d be a great time to invite my friend from Chicago and younger cousin to campus to listen to poetry and then have some dancing fun afterward. Instead, my guests were offended and insulted by some of the students’ attire.

It seems that some of my classmates deem it appropriate to wear “costumes” to Legends for Hip-Hop Night. Dressing in stereotypical “hip-hop” clothing for this is a growing phenomenon and is becoming increasingly offensive. These students may give the excuse of trying to dress “hip-hop,” but it really just looks like a mockery of black culture. While hip-hop is not the sole form of representing black culture, it does give many of our young people a voice. It is an ever-changing form of music and to perpetuate a single stereotype within it is both hurtful and demeaning. Some students at Hip-Hop Night sport bandannas, jerseys, baggy sweatpants, corn rows and fake chains. One of the most shocking outfits that I observed on Saturday included a fake tattoo on a girl’s abdomen that read “thug life.”

Sadly, while these students are garnering attention and making a spectacle of themselves, I find it pointless to address the issue right away. Most of them are way too intoxicated to listen to let alone care about my concerns and those of my friends. I was utterly embarrassed for my cousin, a senior in high school, to think that this is what she has to look forward to in college. I was even more ashamed that my friend, a junior at Central State University, had to witness such behavior and for it to help her form an opinion of Notre Dame.

I know this letter probably won’t transform insensitivity or erase ignorance, but I just had to show my discontent. I am saddened and disappointed that Notre Dame students, my classmates, could be so inconsiderate.

Shawnika Giger

junior

Pangborn Hall

March 25