Indiana College Fires Three White Employees for Posing on Parody Rap Album Cover

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By Lukas Mikelionis | 7:27 am, June 26, 2017

Indiana’s Grace College and Seminary has fired three employees after they dressed up as rappers for a spoof album cover.

On June 2, the college’s marketing department held a weekly theme day for its employees, dubbed “wrap day”. People were encouraged to wear rapper clothing.

Getting into the spirit of things, five employees posed for the parody rap album cover.

The ensuing photograph shows them dressed as rappers, with one apparently wearing an Afro wig and another one sporting “Thug Life” knuckles. The term “N.G.A.” also appears in the picture.

But some social media commentators slammed the image, calling the group “white privileged,” IndyStar reported.

One Facebook comment read: “What point are you trying to make? That you’re gangster, thug, or hood? … And the only time they (the terms) seem to be okay is when white people use them to make light or fun of the situation.”

Following the outrage, three employees were fired.

“I am feeling overwhelmed and hurt,” Evan Kilgore, who was among those who lost their jobs, told IndyStar. “We thought it would be a funny parody of the Grace College culture.”

Kilgore hit back against the use of the “N.G.A.” term, claiming it’s short for “Not Grace Appropriate” – a catchphrase apparently often used by students and campus employees to mock anything considered “sinful” by the church.

“When we named our fake album, we never were implying that how we looked or what were dressed like was ‘not Grace appropriate,'” he added.

Grace College President Dr. Bill Katip released a statement following the firings, claiming the picture was “insensitive and inappropriate”.

“Earlier this week, an insensitive and inappropriate photo was posted by a Grace College employee,” Katip wrote. “This post elicited a significant amount of criticism, concern and hurt from our alumni, students, parents, friends and others.”

The College president has announced a “re-examination of the policies and training at Grace related to diversity and inclusion” to ensure “people of all backgrounds are treated with respect and feel welcomed on our campus.”

From President Katip’s statement:

It is important for the public to know that Grace College is committed deeply to diversity and inclusiveness, and conduct that demonstrates insensitivity to these values will not be tolerated. Grace leadership has taken steps to ensure that this sort of incident will not recur, and several of the individuals involved are no longer employees of Grace College.

This incident has initiated a reexamination of the policies and training at Grace related to diversity and inclusion. While we strive to create a welcoming environment, it is apparent that we can and must do more to help ensure people of all backgrounds are treated with respect and feel welcomed on our campus.

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