Blackface video of California high school student triggers outrage | News Coverage from USA

Blackface video of California high school student triggers outrage

Video of a 14-year-old girl posing in blackface and using a racial slur has sparked backlash in a California community.

The videos began circulating on social media last week, the Fresno Bee reported, and school officials confirmed the girl, who has not been named, is a student from Bullard High School in Fresno.

“Our community is grappling with a jarring incident of racial insensitivity that in a matter of a few hours tonight, has spiraled,” Superintendent Bob Nelson said in a lengthy Facebook post. “Yes, a young teenager made an incredibly poor decision and posted a deeply offensive video on social media, but nothing productive comes from meeting that ignorance and racial insensitivity with hate, and that is exactly what has occurred in the resulting outrage expressed.”

Nelson added that the high school will “begin a comprehensive program addressing the cultural proficiency of our students.”

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Community activist Stacy Williams shared the images on Facebook attracting hundreds of comments with some calling for the girl to be expelled and others saying she should be given a second chance, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Even though we’re in California, we’re a very old-time, conservative town, and this racist behavior is very embedded in our community,” Williams told the newspaper. “There’s a deep-rooted history of white people using their power over people of color in our city with little to no accountability.”

In a fraught political climate, anti-black incidents are on the rise. Reported hate crimes in America increased 17 percent last year, according to the FBI, the third straight year that such crimes increased. Of the more than 7,000 incidents reported last year, 2,013 targeted African-Americans.

Incidents of racial bullying in K-12 schools are also growing. Last April, the Utah chapter of the NAACP called for schools to address a growing number of incidents in which white students used racial slurs against black students. A student in Los Angeles and another in Missouri turned up at school in KKK costumes for school projects last year.

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People of all races harbor racist ideas and beliefs, scholars say, but they are so immersed in a system that systematically favors whites, they are unable to distinguish between what’s racist and what’s not.

Some people reject the idea that blackface – a relic of minstrelsy, popular entertainment from the 19th century rooted in the mimicry and mocking of plantation slaves – is racist.

A majority of Americans – 56 percent – and 88 percent of Democrats say the practice is unacceptable for a white person, but 29 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Trump voters disagree, according to a survey from The Economist/YouGov.

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

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