ONTD Political

2nd-grader Sean King gets in trouble for dressing in blackface as tribute to Martin Luther King Jr

11:27 am - 05/20/2012
Controversy erupted at a Colorado elementary school after a student arrived in blackface as part of a Martin Luther King Jr. costume for a class project.

Second-grader Sean King was asked to remove the makeup by officials at Meridian Ranch Elementary chool in Colorado Springs Wednesday, reported KRDO-TV.


Each student in the class had been assigned a historical figure to dress up as for “wax museum day” at the school, the station reported.

Sean's mother, Michelle King-Roca, told Denver’s 7News her son was really excited about the project.

"He said, 'Mom, I want to wear a black suit because that's what he wore, a black tie, a white shirt, and also I want to do my face black and wear a mustache,'" said King-Roca.

After complaints from a faculty member that took issue with the blackface, the principal asked Sean to remove the face paint or leave the school.

Sean’s parents, who had come to school that day to watch the presentations, decided to take him home.

A spokeswoman for the principal told KRDO that some students, as well as the faculty member who initially complained, felt the costume was offensive. It's the principal's job to make sure the school is a safe environment for students, she said.

Face paint violates the school's dress code policy, she said.

Sean said he never meant to cause offense. "They thought it was inappropriate and it will be disrespectful to black people and I say it's not. I like black people. It's just a costume and I don't want to insult anybody," he said, reported KRDO.

Members of the community have taken to the school's Facebook page to voice their opinion.

“It seems school districts today are just a bit overzealous when it comes to racial correctness. If this young man wasn't disrespecting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or his audience then why would you do something like this?" wrote Bill Stevens Wednesday. "This is what causes racial division in our country today."

Local NAACP president Rosemary Harris Lytle came out in support of school officials' decision to ask Sean to take off the makeup.

"Having blackface as a part of his presentation, it ended up harkening back to a really tragic time in the life of this country a time when blackface was used ... to demean African-Americans in a way that I know that this young man could not have intended to do," Lytle said.


Source has a picture.

Mods, I have no idea how to tag this. Suggestions/tags welcome.
cyranothe2nd 22nd-May-2012 05:33 am (UTC)
I'm sure about about to get hit by a shit tidal wave for saying this, but that kid wasn't being offensive, and while telling him to wash the paint off wasn't a bad idea, he should've been able to stay at school. Rather than complaining to the principle, that faculty member should've just told the kid that there was a really bad history behind his blackface and it was a dresscode violation and that he needed to wash it off. Kid learns some history and how not to repeat his mistakes, faculty member feels safe again, everyone gets a happy ending.

But, apparently, schools are no longer places of teaching kids, just preaching and punishment.


This is such horseshit. The kid was told to wash it off OR go home. It was his parent's decision to take him home. They escalated the situation. As far as what the faculty member should have done--there are often rules about how teachers can approach students.
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