San Diego Elementary School Principal Apologizes for Warning Parents About Black Man in Hoodie at Starbucks

Donna Tripi
Donna Tripi
Screenshot: San Diego Unified School District

Well, this is awkward.

A principal of a San Diego elementary school sent out a totally racist email warning people of a black man who was inside a Starbucks and now she’s been forced to send a “Hey, about that racist email I sent ...” email apology for totally being racist.


The San Diego Tribune reports that Principal Donna Tripi of the La Jolla Elementary School has sent out an apology email saying that she unintentionally perpetuated stereotypes about black men when she pushed send on an email perpetuating stereotypes about black men.

Last month Tripi warned patrons of Starbucks about “an African American male about 30 years old, about 6’1”-6’2”, dressed in all black and a hooded sweatshirt.” The email included tips on how to keep their children away from black men safe from black men in hoodies. The email added that if you see something that doesn’t feel right, like, say a black man in a sweatshirt with a hood suspiciously lurking at an all-white establishment like Starbucks, ask to see his slave papers, and if he can’t produce them, call the police.

“We’re all hoping it was an isolated incident,” the email concluded, the Tribune reports. “But reminders are always helpful.”

This week, surely after some parents said, “Umm ... this feels racist AF!” Tripi sent a digital mea culpa that basically described a black man wearing the athletic gear of the oppressed and no specifics that would have helped anyone point him out, but included his race which should have been a signifier that he was bad news.

“My email was a mistake. While it is critical to keep our school family safe, the way I communicated didn’t provide enough specifics to identify the individual, but could easily lead to unnecessary and harmful reactions against other members of our community,” Tripi wrote. “African American males continue to face discrimination in our society every day. The thought that I unintentionally contributed to that climate with a vague email is something for which I owe our community an apology.”

Because Tripi was practicing a biblical tenet from the Book of Becky, she added that the initial fear of the black man, who reportedly followed a parent and her two children, alarmingly doing nothing at all to hurt them, was justified, it just didn’t include enough description.


“This apology is as disturbing as the original email,” André Branch, president of the San Diego Branch of the NAACP, told the Tribune. “She repeats the description of the man, mentioning his race, but not that of the parents or the children. This repetition reinforces the idea that the parents and their children have something to fear from African-American men.”

“They have no more to fear from African-American males than they do from white males in hoodies or white males in suits and ties,” Branch said. “If their concern had nothing to do with this man’s race, it would not have been mentioned.”


Tripi did not respond to the Tribune’s requests for comment.

The Tribune notes that the principal’s fear may come out of the fact that no black people teach at the school and out of “535 students enrolled at La Jolla Elementary last fall, five were black, state data show.”


So, in short, there is nothing to see here, the principal has issued a white apology—where you basically apologize for offending people who took offense to the offensive shit you said and then justify the offensive shit with equally offensive shit—and then we move on. Got it?

In other news, can someone explain why everyone was staring at me in Starbucks this morning?

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.


kidelo (i have a tiktok)

Bitches be Tripi.