‘Pick My Cotton, N*****!’: Fraternity Suspended After Racist Video Goes Viral

A fraternity at the University of Georgia (UGA) was suspended after video surfaced of its members using racial slurs while laughing about beating black people.

A statement from the school’s student government leaders released on Friday night confirmed the suspension.

“The executive officers of the Student Government Association are aware of a video circulating on social media that depicts individuals identified as members of a UGA Greek organization using racist language and engaging in behaviors that mock the suffering of enslaved peoples,” the statement notes. “We have been notified that the chapter is currently suspended, and we can confirm that there is an investigation underway regarding the students involved in the video.”

In the video, one member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity member can be seen mockingly hitting another student with a belt. The student being hit cries out, “I’m not black!”

The mock beating continues and the fraternity member repeatedly calls out, “Pick my cotton! Pick my cotton, bitch.”

Off-camera, a voice says: “Whoa, you’re not using the right words.”

To which the student holding the belt replies:

Pick my cotton, n-word.

After being posted to Twitter and other social media sites on Friday evening, the video quickly went viral.

The university itself responded in a series of tweets.

“The University of Georgia condemns racism in the strongest terms. Racism has no place on our campus. We will continue our efforts to promote a welcoming and supportive learning environment for our students, faculty and staff,” the tweeted statement read. “Whenever we receive complaints of racist or discriminatory conduct, we refer such matters to our Equal Opportunity Office in accordance with applicable law and policies.”

The Twitter user who originally shared the video, however, was skeptical and claimed that someone in the school’s Equal Opportunity Office had initially downplayed the seriousness of the video while asking a student not to share the footage in order to protect UGA’s reputation, according to screenshots of a conversation posted on the micro-blogging site.

The fraternity’s national organization–which is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia–also responded to the video.

“Tau Kappa Epsilon is disgusted, appalled and angered by the remarks shown in the video. TKE does not condone or support any actions by its members that would be defined as racist, discriminatory, and/or offensive. Since 1989, our fraternity has taken much pride in the diversity and uniqueness of our membership. Tau Kappa Epsilon has never had an exclusionary clause in our membership. Our founders believed, as we do today, in the personal worth and character of the individual, not his wealth, rank or honor.”

According to The Red & Black, student newspaper, TKE is the second such UGA Greek organization to be suspended this year. In February, the Theta Chi fraternity was also suspended for reasons that have yet to be made public.

[image via screengrab]

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