Just when you thought blackface had been relegated to old college yearbooks, a California teacher provided the latest proof of white superiority—at least in the field of “trying it”—after he wore blackface in the classroom to buttress the bona fides of his Halloween costume.
On Oct. 31, Milpitas High School teacher David Carter decided to dress like rapper, actor and almost-too-enthusiastic Microsoft spokesman Common. Apparently, the teacher figured that students wouldn’t know who he was portraying without using skin color as a part of his costume. According to NBC, in addition to wearing Common’s exact outfit, imitating the rapper’s voice and referencing a commercial that is repeated 2,202,937 times per day, the teacher decided to wear blackface because...come on, man, you know how “they” are.
Given that the Milpitas High is only 2.1 percent black, Carter probably thought no one would complain. If you’re sad that you weren’t there to witness this groundbreaking cosplay performance, cheer up. Lucky for you, a student recorded footage of Carter’s display of oblivious whiteness and posted it to Twitter.
“It is essential that every MUSD student and parent/guardian can expect to have a safe environment in which they can feel respected and valued,” read a statement from Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent Cheryl Jordan. “The actions of a staff member on Halloween adversely affected this expectation because of the choice to wear blackface paint.
“Blackface paint has a historical and present-day connotation of racism that demeans those of African ancestry,” Jordan continued. “The act was disparaging to our students, parents, colleagues and the Milpitas community we serve. Our Human Relations team has placed the employee on leave and appropriate action will be taken pending further investigation.”
Chris Norwood, the president of the Milpitas Unified School District’s board of trustees who also happens to be gifted with permanent blackface, issued a statement condemning the costume as “inappropriate, unprofessional and insensitive.”
According to Pew Research, most white people believe there are rare occasions when blackface is acceptable. To help you decide, The Root came up with a handy dandy guide that we hoped would circulate among people who like to dress up in faux-negro.
Although many people blame racism and a lack of education, I believe Common should take full responsibility for this incident.
If he hadn’t changed his rap name, white people would have had a little more Common Sense.