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Crips/Bloods: College Hammered

The criticism of the Crips & Bloods party in the national press just won’t let up. Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham piled on with quotes from Boston mayoral candidate John Barros ‘96:

The second kind burst into ugly view, yet again, at Dartmouth College recently, where the infamous Alpha Delta fraternity hosted a Bloods and Crips-themed party at which revelers descended into racial caricatures. One organizer of that sorry shindig — merely the latest in a series of slap-your-forehead-offensive transgressions at the Ivy League school — attended the vaunted Buckingham, Browne & Nichols school in Cambridge. Afterward, student organizers apologized, professing to have been previously unaware that making sport of gang wars that have destroyed lives and neighborhoods might be insensitive. And we worry about urban schools…

Barros, accepted into 13 colleges, chose the New Hampshire school because it gave him the best financial aid package. A weekend trip also convinced him the school was a vibrant, comfortable place for students of color. But once he got there, Barros found a different Dartmouth.

The school was “a very socially isolating place,” he said. The predominantly white frat scene was unappealing, and there wasn’t much of a network for black students at the time. Barros was always acutely conscious of his economic class. “I never felt more poor than I felt at Dartmouth,” he said. He helped start an exchange program, and was among the first to participate: A junior semester at the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta expanded his universe. He returned more confident, and went on to lead Dartmouth’s African American Society and join the Casque and Gauntlet Society for student leaders.

A second Globe columnist, Derrick Jackson, added a similar set of thoughts:

Dartmouth College far too often seems to exist solely to reveal the depths of racial catatonia among cloistered white students. The latest example is a “Bloods and Crips” party held in July by the Alpha Delta fraternity and the Tri Delta sorority. The party degenerated into the same kind of “ghetto party” held 15 years ago by the Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity and the Alpha Xi Delta sorority, mocking black culture and low-income African-American communities through dress, language, and hairdos.

The College might put a brave face on all of this, but each one of these opinion pieces — where not only a specific incident but the entire institution is held up to ridicule — has to leave more than a few high school college counselors, students and parents with a negative view of the alma mater.

And what is there on the other side of the equation? What academic or residential innovations has the College effected in the last 20 years that have garnered the attention of the national press. I’ll leave that question with you.

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