This week, between that Heineken ad, Roseanne’s non-acting ass back on TV (notably on the same network pandering to “unheard white working class America” yet nixing a Black-ish episode about NFL players kneeling) and now a minstrel show at an elementary school, I think wypipo are pranking us with overt racism followed by “Who me?”
Latest case in point: On Friday, an Atlanta charter school had to issue an apology for a black history month program that had 6- and 7-year-olds holding blackface masks complete with bug eyes and red lips.
As you can see, the classroom included both black and white second graders at the Kindezi School at Old Fourth Ward reciting Harlem Renaissance poet Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask,” which reads in part: “We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that after parents began posting the video, the school, which has three locations in Atlanta, issued a statement: “This was a poor and inappropriate decision and we sincerely apologize and accept responsibility for the hurt, anger, frustration, and disappointment that this has caused in the Kindezi community and the community at large.”
Whatever that teacher was TRYING to do for Black History Month (in March no less), they failed miserably. The fact that the teacher used blackface to demonstrate “the mask” that black folks wear every day and had her white students wear it shows even good intentions can lead straight to hell. It would be a stretch for a college theater class on the history of minstrelsy to get away with this, so why someone wouldn’t flag this at an elementary school is beyond me.
The irony is that according to the school’s website, “Kindezi” is a Bantu word which describes the act by which a community educates, loves, and values every child.
In addition to an apology, Kindezi says it is planning to offer cultural competency training for teachers – one of whom, I think is trying to be racist. Because he or she certainly wasn’t not not trying to be racist.