Things That Matter

A Student Filmed Her Teacher In Blackface And Now The Video Has Gone Viral And The Teacher Is On Leave

A student’s video of her teacher wearing blackface to class to appear as the rapper Common on Halloween went viral. The teacher from California has since been placed on leave, according to BuzzFeed News

The clip circulated on Twitter after 16-year-old Karrington Kenney shared video footage. In the 23-second video, the teacher enacts a scene from Common’s Microsoft AI commercial for his students in the class. Kenney told BuzzFeed News the video came from a friend whose mother is also a teacher at Milpitas Unified School District where the incident occurred. 

The school told BuzzFeed they would not release the name of the teacher because it was a “confidential personnel matter.” 

Kenney shares the video of teacher with blackface on Twitter.

“Sooooooooo… one of our WHITE teachers at MHS yesterday decided to paint his face so look like Common the rapper yesterday,” Kenney tweeted. “The school just told him to clean up…”

In the video, not only is the teacher painted in dark brown makeup but it is much darker than Common’s actual skin color.

“With A.I. Microsoft technology, the future is up to you,”  he says attempting to speaking with an offensive black accent, while Common speaks much differently.  

“We decided to post this to bring this to the eye of public,” Kenney said. “He genuinely thought it was okay to come to school like this.”

Kenney said the incident hurt especially because there aren’t many black people at her school. 

“He’s a white male, so he came to school with his face painted and he tried to act as if he was the rapper,” Kenney told  KTVU. “To see that he really thought that was O.K. and it was a joke — it really hurts, especially being one of the handful of black people that we have at our school,”

Officials call for an investigation of the incident. 

Chris Norwood, the president of the school board in Milpitas, called for an investigation of the “insensitive” act. 

“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,” Norwood told the New York Times. “Unfortunately, blackface still permeates global society today through social media, comedy and fashion.”

The school releases a statement, calling it “insensitive.” 

School officials released a statement condemning the racist act to parents and faculty. 

“It hurts to know that this type of cultural insensitivity and lack of cultural awareness still hovers in the background,” the superintendent of the Milpitas Unified School District Cheryl Jordan and school principal Francis Rojas said in a statement. 

“We are committed to strengthening our school environment through culturally relevant and respectful education designed to address prejudice and racism so that we can prevent bullying and harassment. Blackface paint has a historical and present-day connotation of racism that demeans those of African ancestry. The act was disparaging to our students, parents, colleagues and the Milpitas community we serve.”

This isn’t the first time a teacher has been put on leave due to a racist act. 

In October, a Pennsylvania middle school teacher was placed on administrative leave after a viral Facebook video showed her call someone the N-word and using derogatory language. A video shows Renee Greeley confronting a parent in the school parking lot. 

“Because you’re black.” she tells the man who she insists is on welfare after he told he made six figures. “Always looking to milk the system. And you see me, a white woman, so you think I’ve got money.” 

Greeley then called the man the N-word and other expletives. The school administration promptly placed her on administrative leave without pay. 

“It’s got to stop,” District Superintendent Daniel P. McGarry told USA Today. “This rhetoric and this language and the way the people feel and the way they communicate has to stop. It’s destroying the country. It’s destroying (the) country and we’re going to be the place that’s going to prove to people that it can be done the right way.” 

Within the same week of this incident in Pennsylvania, a Virginia teacher was fired after she used a racial slur against her student. 

“She called him a ni**let. She called the student a ni**let. She went on and there were other words and terms expressed out loud,” one parent told NBC 12. “I’m concerned for the culture that’s within the school. I’m concerned about who we have in the classroom.”

As long as the President is comfortable using racist language and tropes in his rhetoric, citizens will continue to follow his lead. 

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