Another year, another instance of a white person donning blackface for Halloween.
This time, a teacher at a high school in Milpitas, California who wore blackface during Halloween to impersonate Common has been placed on administrative leave.
The unidentified educator “chose to wear blackface paint and satirically imitate a TV commercial and well known national social activist of the African American community,” according to a statement by school board president Chris Norwood. He added that the staff member’s actions were “inappropriate, unprofessional and insensitive,” and that he asked the superintendent to conduct an investigation into the incident.
A video shared on Twitter on Friday night shows the teacher in the classroom, imitating Common, who’s the face of a national advertising campaign for Microsoft’s artificial intelligence technology. The teacher donned a white turtleneck and black jacket, just like the rapper wore in a Microsoft commercial from last year.
“Opportunities limitless, possibilities senseless, what will you do?” the teacher rapped in the clip. “Millions of people, not enough to eat, what will we do? With A.I. Microsoft technology, the future—it’s up to you. You can do it. With A.I., the future will blow your mind.”
Norwood, who is black, said that blackface reminds him of a history of hatred and fear towards African American people.
Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent Cheryl Jordan and Milpitas High School principal Francis Rojas said the “disparaging” incident has “adversely affected” every district student, parent, and guardian’s expectation to feel safe and respected.
“In a school community where we welcome learners and families from over 50 languages who represent cultures and religions throughout the world, and where our long-standing neighborhood, Sunnyhills, was established as the first city in the nation for planned integration, it hurts to know that this type of cultural insensitivity and lack of cultural awareness still hovers in the background,” the statement said.
You would THINK that an EDUCATOR would know better — but apparently not. Watch the video below.
Sooooooooo… one of our WHITE teachers at mhs yesterday decided to paint his face so look like common the rapper yesterday. pic.twitter.com/1WudSddCLZ
— karrington (@karrington_kk) November 1, 2019