In yet another sign of America’s undercurrent of racism thrusting itself into the mainstream of American society, an Arkansas school board member has been forced to apologize after pictures emerged of him wearing blackface.
An elected official from the Blevins School District is now under scrutiny after pictures surfaced of him wearing blackface. pic.twitter.com/qe15xECdBl
— Sarafina Brooks (@KATVSarafina) November 15, 2016
Blevins School Board member Ted Bonner apparently thought it would be funny to attend a Halloween party in blackface and with a sign that mocked the Black Lives Matter movement.
Needless to say, school parents are furious. “Number one, it’s appalling. Number two, it’s inappropriate for a school board member to disrespect students that he’s over, who are black” says parent Faye Smith, father of two. “Why is that every time you make a joke, it’s blackface? Why is blackface funny? We have a whole race of people who don’t think looking in the mirror is a joke. I don’t appreciate the fact that you’re mocking the thing that I’m teaching my boys is something to be proud of,” said Smith. “Being a black man, and then you do this to make them feel like ‘well you’re a joke.'”
Bonner has apologized but the Arksanas NAACP is demanding his resignation.
Blackface stems from the late 19th century and has always been a tool to dehumanize and mock black people for their skin color, a vehicle to perpetuate stereotypes. This is just another example of how Donald Trump and the far-right have begun the horrifying process of normalizing displays of racism. Who knows what kind of values and beliefs this racist is imparting into the children at this school?