Next Up in Everything’s Racist: Cotton

The fabric of our bigotry.

We wear it, touch it, or sit on it every single day but perhaps we should stop, because cotton is racist.

That’s what Daniell Rider, a triggered Hobby Lobby customer, felt when she saw raw cotton for sale at her local store in Killeen, Texas. Cotton on the stalk is a very popular home decoration and is widely used, thus the reason hobby and craft stores sell it. But seeing it was a time machine for Rider who immediately recalled images of slavery:

But that’s just one person’s insulate opinion, right? Surely, this is the only case of someone being triggered by cotton in years. Wrong! This isn’t the only story of the great cotton triggering for the week!

Traveling east from Texas to Nashville, Tennessee, black students at Lipscomb University were invited over the the president’s home for a special dinner and discussion all about their experiences on campus. Again, cotton stems are very popular decorations and were used in the home of President Randy Lowry as centerpieces on his tables. The offended students took photos of the centerpieces and shared them on social media.

The Instagram account of nakaylayvonne described the scene, which included such racist fare as cornbread and macaroni and cheese:

So I attend Lipscomb university and as most of you know that is a predominately white school. Tonight AFRICAN AMERICAN students were invited to have dinner with the president of the school. As we arrived to the president's home and proceeded to go in we seen cotton as the center pieces. We also stood and ate dinner, there were no seats to sit in and it felt very uncomfortable. We were very offended, and also the meals that were provided resembled many "black meals" they had mac n cheese, collard greens, corn bread etc. The night before Latinos also had dinner at his house and they had tacos. They also DIDN'T have the center piece that we HAD tonight. A couple of minutes went by, the president was coming around and asking for our names and what our major was. He finally got to our table and my friend @kay_cyann asked why there was cotton on the table as the center piece. His response was that he didn't know, he seen it before we did, he kind of thought it was " fallish", THEN he said " it ISNT INHERENTLY BAD IF WERE ALL WEARING IT " then walked off. Later on all of us that were there were invited into the home, and we had the impression that we were coming to speak about how us as Black people feel about Lipscomb. The whole entire time we were in their home they only talked about themselves( how they met, got married and ended up at lipscomb) & the ONLY question that we were asked was our transformation coming to lipscomb. A couple of women answered the question but they sugar coated it. They said any other questions that we may have can be emailed to the advocate for the Latinos and that a second meeting may be held. Also we don't have an advocate on campus, the only African American advocate we had, no longer works here. The only advocate available to us is the advocate for the Latinos. They claim to have funding for minorities, BUT you have to live up to the expectations of a typical Black family to even get the 1000$.There is NO FUNDING for just us black students. #share

The account also shared a short video in which bluegrass music is heard in the background. Someone commented, “The music playing is even worst [sic].”

Lowry was forced to apologize, saying, “The content of the centerpieces was offensive, and I could have handled the situation with more sensitivity. I sincerely apologize for the discomfort, anger or disappointment we caused and solicit your forgiveness.”

According to The Washington Times, a local NBC affiliate confirmed that the cotton centerpieces were only used the night the black students gathered, and that the menu for the Latino group the previous evening was a fajita bar. And there we thought celebrating a person’s culture was a good thing.

No word on whether or not the Lipscomb students have sworn off cotton swabs, cotton balls, T-shirts, socks, underwear, denim, bed sheets, towels, or carpet.