In today’s college blackface news, a freshman at Colorado State University is reacting to the backlash she and three other students faced for wearing blackface at their school.
Leana Kaplan was pictured in an Instagram Story post wearing “facial mud” with the caption “Wakanda forevaa,” a reference to Marvel’s movie Black Panther. The photo quickly went viral.
According to Kaplan, she’s not racist and issued a long statement to the Coloradoan on Friday (September 13) by her father, Les Kaplan.
"On September 8, 2019, I was involved with three other freshman students (all males) in an incident on my dormitory floor. Our behavior was photographed by another student. This photo went viral, hurting other students and changing me forever. This photo of four white students in black face is indeed horrendous, and understandably appears to portray four racists making fun of African Americans,” she wrote.
“The hurtful impact of this photo on minorities is real, but this photo is not the whole story. I am not going to allow a photo, the news media nor CSU to do the talking for me. Just as those who have been hurt have a voice, so do I, and I too am entitled to be heard no less than those who have been offended. No, this is not about me, but if there are lessens to be learned, the story behind the photo and the blond girl wearing black face surround by yet-to-be identified boys needs to be told,” she continued.
Kaplan went on to say that “these do not make me a racist nor even a denier of my racism, as so many are,” and that the incident “is now damaging my life.”
Then, her statement turned into a conspiracy theory rather than an apology: “There are those who are exploiting this photo as an example of racism on campus and the failure of CSU to eradicate this virus,” Kaplan wrote. “These people include Tay Anderson, running for the Denver School Board, and who has been blasting this photo wherever he can to grandstand his out-of-town platform against racial prejudice. I believe this campaign may be responsible for threatening my employer, a national retailer, to terminate me, which has been done, now depriving me of income and placing a stigma on future employment and advanced education.”
In concluding her statement, Kaplan was audacious enough to claim that if racism is to be dissolved, “the full spectrum of sensitivity must include not creating any more victims.”
Now, Twitter is reacting and Kaplan’s apology is clearly not being embraced. See below.