On MLK Day, with a few of my co-workers and my four-year-old son, I performed community service. We went to a local center and spent a few hours making peanut butter sandwiches to feed the homeless.
Actually, we spent a half-hour or so making sandwiches. Most of us spent the remainder of the time continuing to make sandwiches, while my son ate peanut butter.
An offensive “tribute” to Martin Luther King
But imagine, if instead of performing community service, my co-workers and I decided to host an “MLK Black Party,” where we dressed in basketball jerseys, flashing gang signs and drank from watermelon cups.
These students were not only ignorant enough to host this party, but two shared it on Instagram (complete with hashtags like #mlkparty, #watermeloncup, #hood, #blakcoutformlk and #ihaveadream). Both appear to have since deleted their Instagram accounts (here and here).
Policies can’t prevent stupidity.
While it is prudent to educate and train your workforce on policies governing discrimination and responsible use of social media, stupidity like this proves that no matter what type of policy or guidance you may provide, problems in the workplace will arise.
It’s how you respond that matters.
When it comes to folks who create a hostile work environment for others, make sure that you take the immediate necessary steps that are reasonably designed to end the harassment.
Arizona State University has suspended the TKE fraternity. We’ll see whether some of the students involved continue to receive their education from ASU.