ISU and campus groups condemn student’s racist video about how Black people aren’t “country”

Rosemarie Mosteller/ShutterStock (Licensed)

College student under fire for viral video claiming Black people aren’t ‘country’

Some think she was referring to Beyonce.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Apr 11, 2024   Updated on Apr 11, 2024, 1:46 pm CDT

In a viral video, an Indiana State University nursing student said Black people can’t be “country” because their ancestors were slaves.

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In the wake of backlash, the university made a statement yesterday condemning the video, as did the school’s African Student Union and NAACP chapter.

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The video was posted on social media last week and shows an alleged ISU nursing student speaking to the camera. In it, she says that even though Black people and their ancestors were “raised in the country,” they can’t be “country” because their ancestors were enslaved.

“I wish I meant that in the nicest way,” she said. “Your great granny and grandpas… they was pickin’, okay? They wasn’t plantin’. Just keep that in mind. They wasn’t making money, they was getting sold for money.”

She goes on to say Black people shouldn’t wear jeans and boots to fraternity parties, which really “pisses [her] off.”

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The poster—and ISU—have received immense backlash online. TikTok users have posted contact information for Deborah Curtis, the president of the university, and Caroline Mallory, the dean of ISU’s nursing program, instructing viewers to call and email both women to complain about the video.

The video has also been reposted many times on X and Instagram.

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“This is disgusting racist behavior from one of your students,” an X user who reposted the video wrote, tagging ISU. “Ya’ll need to address this immediately.”

In a statement released yesterday, Curtis said that “racism, hate speech, and discrimination” are “deplorable” and against the school’s mission—and any consequences the student might be facing will not be made public as a result of the student’s rights to due process and privacy.

“This video impacts the entire campus community but it deeply affects students from marginalized groups,” Curtis stated. “Make no mistake—we hear you. We see you. We support you.”

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A statement from the school’s NAACP chapter gave some insight into actions the school is taking in the wake of the video: The chapter said it met with ISU’s vice president of student affairs, and applauded Curtis’ statement.

The University’s African Student Union was more blunt: It called the video “disgraceful,” and “a reflection of the passive approach taken in the past in regards to racism.”

“We believe disciplinary actions should be taken,” the union said in an Instagram post. “And be an example for future students who consider making a mockery of Indiana State University’s moral code regarding diversity and inclusion.”

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Beyoncé’s latest album, Cowboy Carter, sparked discourse about Black people’s place in country music, which some online think motivated the video.

“Everybody don’t like Beyoncé, so I get it, that’s fine,” a TikToker said of the general response to the album. “But [she] takes the cake… She don’t know history.”

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*First Published: Apr 11, 2024, 1:45 pm CDT
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