A young woman in Kansas has sparked outrage and discussion after making a racist post on social media.
Paige Shoemaker, a former Kansas State University student, uploaded a picture to her Snapchat account showing herself and a friend wearing black sheet masks on their faces. The caption on the photo read, “Feels good to finally be a [n–ga],” followed by the crying-laughing emoji.
Social media users were outraged, and before long, Shoemaker’s stunt went viral. Even Gabrielle Union weighed on in the farce.
No no no no nonononononono https://t.co/meSu1TcAY6
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) September 15, 2016
Shoemaker’s bio on her Twitter page lists her as a student at KSU and a member of the Beta Upsilon chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha.
KSU posted a special alert on its website, and the university’s interim associate provost for diversity (what?!), Zelia Wiley, said the following in a long open letter to KSU students, faculty and staff:
On Sept. 15, the university received notice that a derogatory social message and photo was sent out via social media. The involved person is not currently enrolled at the university. It is our understanding the second individual in the photo is not associated with the university.
Immediately upon notification, the Campus Climate Response Team, or CCRT, which consists of representatives from the Office of Diversity, Office of Institutional Equity, Office of Student Life, the K-State Student Union and Division of Communications and Marketing, met to address this recent social media posting. This racially offensive photo with a derogatory message has upset the K-State family and is not in concert with our principles of community. Such messages on social media are harmful to all.
Wiley went on to say that the university will “reinforce its value for diversity and inclusion while also communicating our principles of community for all students, faculty and staff.”
Zeta Tau Alpha issued a statement on the fraternity chapter’s Facebook page also distancing itself from Shoemaker.
Kansas State University’s Black Student Union also had an official statement. The organization will be having a discussion tonight at 8 p.m. and encourages others to join in using the hashtag #Diversity2025.
— Black Student Union (@ksubsu) September 15, 2016
As for Ms Shoemaker, it doesn’t appear that a peep has been heard from her since the Snapchat, but it’s entirely possible she’s still trying to scrub that egg off her face.
Monique Judge is a freelance journalist in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter.