MILPITAS, California (KRON) — Milpitas Unified School District in California has released a statement after one of its employees used blackface in class on Halloween.
MUSD School Board President Chris Norwood addressed the Milpitas community.
The Milpitas School officials have not confirmed it was a teacher who did this, but videos on social media claim to show a teacher at Milpitas High School wearing blackface on Halloween.
The staff member was imitating the hip-hop artist Common who is currently the face of Microsoft’s new ad campaign.
Norwood shared a letter with the district on Facebook saying the staff member is currently on administrative leave and called for the superintendent to investigate.
“A culturally sensitive matter has been brought to my attention by an upset and disappointed group of District leaders, teachers, students and parents,” Norwood said. “An MUSD staff member on Halloween chose to wear black face paint and satirically imitate a TV commercial and well known national social activity of the African American community. The action(s) were inappropriate, unprofessional and insensitive. District administration has placed the staff member on Administrative leave and I have asked the Superintendent to ensure an immediate investigation is conducted. As an African American man, the history of Blackface reminds me of the cruelty, hatred and fear my parents and people of African Ancestry have dealt with in the past and still experience today around the world.Unfortunately, Blackface still permeates global society today through social media, comedy and fashion…. In our schools, classrooms, homes, community, places of worship and work we must diligently continue to utilize the lessons of history to eliminate negative stereotypical biases and pursue the necessary restorative actions whenever and wherever possible.”
Blackface has been widely chastised as an offensive and racist portrayal of African-Americans and other people of color.
“I’m kind of disappointed that in 2019 that this isn’t common knowledge,” MUSD Board of Trustee Michael Tsai said. “I’m a person of color myself and I’m really committed to building a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment in Milpitas for people from all backgrounds. At best, this displays an ignorance about the context of blackface, the historical connotations, and how offensive and hurtful it could be.”
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