Student Stopped From Wearing Obama Mask in Talent Show

Student Stopped From Wearing Obama Mask in Talent Show

Published March 17, 2009

An Oregon principal stopped a fifth-grader from wearing an Obama mask during a talent show performance, fearing the portrayal might be offensive.

The 11-year-old, Dru Lechert-Kelly, had planned on dressing up as President Obama and dancing to a rap song called, “I Can Do Whatever I Like,” similar to a parody on YouTube, reports The performance ended with Dru doing a split.

When Lechert-Kelly rehearsed his act last week, most of the crowd cheered, according to reports; but not everyone was entertained. “I talked to the parents who are coordinating the talent show, and they feel it’s inappropriate and potentially offensive,” said the principal, Steve Powell.

While Powell didn’t elaborate on what was particularly offensive, Dru’s parents, a gay couple who adopted him from a Romanian orphanage, think it might have something to do with the fact that the president is Black and Dru is White.

“I understand the history of Blackface and how African Americans were caricatured by it,” said one of Dru’s fathers, Scott Lechert. “However, we now have a popular, bi-racial president who is admired by White and non-White people. At what point will it become OK for an 11-year-old admirer to dress up as the president without fear of offending someone?”

Meanwhile, Dru doesn’t think it’d be worth it to perform without the mask, so he’ll be going roller skating instead of going to the talent show, he says. Should they have let Dru perform with the Obama mask?


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