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Teacher's Halloween Get-Up Gets Him Put on Leave

Unidentified instructor raps while in blackface in class at California high school
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2019 9:45 AM CST

(Newser) – A California high school teacher is on administrative leave following the "inappropriate, unprofessional, and insensitive" decision to wear blackface for Halloween. A student posted a video to Twitter on Friday showing the Milpitas High School teacher in blackface at the front of a classroom while dressed as rapper Common, seen in a Microsoft ad last year. "With AI Microsoft technology, the future is up to you," the teacher raps in apparent imitation of the ad, which includes no rapping, per the New York Times. "As an African American man, the history of blackface reminds me of the cruelty, hatred, and fear my parents and people of African ancestry have dealt with in the past and still experience today," says Chris Norwood, the school board president who's called for an investigation.

So, too, has the NAACP, per NBC Bay Area. The student who recorded the video tells KTVU that the white e-tech instructor arrived with his face painted and "tried to act as if he was the rapper." "It was a joke" and "it really hurts, especially being one of the handful of black people that go to the school," says Karrington Kenney, vice president of the school's Black Student Union. In a statement, Principal Francis Rojas and school district Superintendent Cheryl Jordan criticized the "lack of cultural awareness" while noting that "blackface paint has a historical and present-day connotation of racism that demeans those of African ancestry." Kenney suggests the instructor should've been well aware of that fact. She describes him as a former history teacher. (Justin Trudeau wore brownface as a teacher.)

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