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Covington students defend blackface video as ‘school spirit’
Two white boys in matching white button-down shirts and blue-and-white striped ties were interviewed by host Steve Doocy, who asked senior Sam Schroder, “Something like five years ago, there was a pep rally where one of the members of the school body appeared to have blackface on. People even ask you to explain that. How do you explain that?”
Schroder told host Steve Doocy that the blackface was just “school spirit.”
“We have many themes. Like nerd, business, whiteout, blueout, blackout—as you’ve seen in the video. Ever since I’ve gone to CovCath, we haven’t been able to wear black paint because of the video, but I know the kids meant nothing by it, it’s just showing school spirit.”
The video in question actually shows four students in blackface, screaming around a Black basketball player of an opposing team. The video has been deleted from Covington Catholic’s YouTube channel, but screenshots are still widely available on Twitter.
— Andrew Haines (@RealAndyHaines) January 23, 2019
— Molly (@Plantflowes) January 23, 2019
America’s history of using blackface goes back to the 1830s, according to the National Museum of African American History & Culture. White performers would blacken their faces and perform in so-called minstrel shows, the purpose of which was to mock Black people for the entertainment of whites. “These performances characterized blacks as lazy, ignorant, superstitious, hypersexual, and prone to thievery and cowardice,” according to the museum’s website.
“Blackface performances grew particularly popular between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century in Northern and Midwestern cities, where regular interaction with African Americans was limited. White racial animus grew following Emancipation when antebellum stereotypes collided with actual African Americans and their demands for full citizenship including the right to vote,” the museum explains.
In recent popular culture, former Fox News host Megyn Kelly was fired from her position at NBC last year, in part due to controversy over blackface.
Kelly defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes. “Back when I was a kid, that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as a character,” she said on her morning show, which was canceled shortly thereafter.
H/T the Daily Beast
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.