There will not be a Kentucky Derby party at Dartmouth College this year because some students allege that one of the nation’s most prestigious horse races is racist.
And fair warning – before reading further you might want to make a batch of Mint Juleps. You’re going to need it.
Back in 2015, a group of Black Lives Matter protestors targeted an exclusive Kentucky Derby party hosted by the ladies of Kappa Delta Epsilon – calling the event overtly racist and “recreating an Antebellum South atmosphere on the Ivy League campus.”
The protestors accused the party of being a “bastion of racism, exclusion and oppression.” They chanted, “What is Derby? It’s the face of genocide” and “What is Derby? It’s the face of police brutality.”
I searched The New York Times archives and could find no evidence of police brutality at the Derby – nor could I find any evidence of ethnic cleansings.
I can only imagine the angst and soul searching among the fragile Ivy League snowflakes as they contemplated the grave offense they had caused to the perpetually-offended, hashtag protesters.
To right the terrible injustice -- the sorority ladies met with members of the university’s Afro-American Society. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in what was most certainly a confab on “privilege.”
Shortly thereafter, Kappa Delta Epsilon decided to change the Kentucky Derby theme “because of its racial connotations.”
“[It is] related to pre-war southern culture,” KDE vice president Nikol Oydanich told The Dartmouth newspaper. “[The] Derby was a party that had the power to upset a lot of our classmates.”
And by “pre-war southern culture,” I reckon the young lady was referring to the Civil War.
There’s just one minor flaw in Kappa Delta Epsilon’s reasoning – the first running of the Kentucky Derby was held in 1875 – during Reconstruction.
That’s right, racing fans. The Kentucky Derby did not commence until 10 years after the war had ended. And for what it’s worth, Kentucky was officially neutral during the War Between the States.
Go ahead and take another swig of that Mint Julep.
KDE president Allison Chou told The Dartmouth that the protests leading to the change were helpful – an “opportunity to reflect on what it stands for and the inconsistencies between Derby and the sorority’s values.”
No ma’am. It’s a horse race – with a bunch of ladies wearing fancy hats.
It would be akin to accusing Colonel Sanders of being a racist because he fries chicken. Or refusing to wear clothing made from cotton because of its significance in “pre-war southern culture.”
So instead of a Derby party – the ladies are hosting an alcohol-free Woodstock party – because nothing screams tolerance and diversity like commemorating a bunch of tie-dyed, hippy-dippy liberals, doing Lord knows what in a field of debauchery.
It sounds to me like somebody’s been smoking the Colonel’s eleven herbs and spices.
What a bunch of finger-lickin’ morons.