In yet another unfortunate case of Halloween blackface, a California teacher was placed in the hot seat after wearing the offensive makeup to dress up as Chicago rap artist, actor and philanthropist Common.
According to a statement by the Milpitas Unified School Board President Chris Norwood, the staff member “chose to wear blackface paint and satirically imitate a TV commercial and well-known national social activist of the African-American community,” NBC News reports.
“I go to a very diverse school, so to see that he really thought that was OK and it was a joke, it really hurts. Especially being one of a handful of Black people that we have at our school,” says Kerry Karrington, a junior at MHS and vice president of the Black Student Union, who posted the video.
The video showed the teacher wearing a white turtleneck and black jacket, mirroring Common, who appeared in a Microsoft commercial last year. “Opportunities limitless, possibilities senseless, what will you do?” the teacher rapped. “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.”
According to Norwood, the horrific Halloween occurrence has been denounced by the NAACP of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County Alliance of Black Educators and San Jose African American Community Service Agency, to name a few.
State data shows that nearly three percent of the 2017-2018 student body of Milpitas High School is also African-American.
The school district superintendent Cheryl Jordan and Milpitas High School Principal Francis Rojas jointly spoke out in a statement discussing “cultural insensitivity and lack of cultural awareness.”
“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.”
Common has not yet responded to the controversy.
See the blackface incident captured by students in the video below.
(Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images)