When I was in Tennessee two weeks ago, one of the fun things my daughter and I did was wade among some cotton plants, which we had not seen since we'd moved to the Pacific Northwest three years ago. You see them all the time in the Volunteer State this time of year. They’re kind of pretty, actually, if you don’t cut yourself on the sharp bracts that result when the boll has burst open and dried.
Even so, they can serve as an inexpensive table centerpiece were you trying to entertain a crowd, which is what drew me to the news about the president of a Christian college in Nashville who did just that.
But the black students who were his guests one night felt the cotton arrangements were a racist statement, according to the New York Daily News.
But note: If you look for any hints of the religious background of this Nashville college in this story, you will find none:
A dinner intended to give African-American students at a Tennessee university the opportunity to discuss their experience at the private liberal arts school left attendees shocked after tables were decorated with cotton stalk centerpieces.
Lipscomb University president Randy Lowry invited black students to his Nashville home Friday night for a dinner, but many of the students deemed the tableware and menu offensive.