Montreal Students Wear Blackface at Back-to-School Even

Montreal Students Wear Blackface at Back-to-School Even

Students at the Université de Montréal use black body paint and Jamaican accents to mock Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

Published September 17, 2011

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, above.


Since when did blackface become part of the college curriculum?


Students from the elite business school at the Université de Montréal in Montreal put the offensive imagery on blast at a back-to-school event when they painted themselves with black body paint and chanted in mock Jamaican accents.


Participants were told to dress in Olympic-themed costumes for the rally. One group’s offensive appearance portrayed Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.


Reports The Toronto Star:


One witness, who is of Jamaican descent, said he felt uncomfortable and was shocked to hear some students chanting, “Smoke more weed.” At one point the students also repeatedly chanted, “Ya man!”


He said he found the display deeply offensive because of the troubling historical connotations of black face.


“It is connected to a longer tradition of minstrel shows, reducing Black people to pretty much jokes,” he said. “They’re put on as a spectacle, to almost look grotesque.”


A spokesman for the business school said the stunt was unacceptable — but he said there were no ill intentions. He said the students should simply have chosen another way to get into the Olympic-themed spirit.

Written by Britt Middleton


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