The photograph was taken during a luau sponsored by the University of Memphis Dept. of Residence Life and Dining Services. It showed a grade school student about to hit a Hula dancer piñata.
“This was one of numerous activities which occurred during the RHC Luau,” a popular event that has been held for more than 10 years,” the statement read – noting that the hula dancer was one of three piñatas used in the event.
“The photograph taken out of context may be disconcerting, but we want to assure our community that no racial or gender animosity was intended,” the statement concluded.
However, that’s not how some students observed the activity. Some called it “reverse racism,” according to television station WMC.
“It didn’t look right, just because of the social climate we’re in right now,” university student Veronica Birmingham told WMC. “How could somebody be so insensitive and not realize this might cause an issue?”
Birmingham told the television station she took the photograph and sent it to a friend who posted it on Facebook.