There is one thing for certain every Halloween season — a white person will go in blackface and try to defend it. This is the case for teenager Jasmine Bates in Eugene, Oregon.
See the image below, which had the hashtag “n*gger gang.”
Bates is now explain herself in an interview with KEZI. She claims she and her friends had black face paint on their face on Oct. 26 to “scare people at a haunted barn, a well-known fundraiser for their school’s Future Farmers of America chapter.”
The freshman at Lebanon High School explained, “I signed up for the role doing people in black, and there was other people that did it too, and our job was basically to hide. One person hid behind the wall and like jumped out and scared people.” She also claimed adult chaperone issued instructions.
“He told us to put our hair back and our hoods up and have our faces painted black so that they wouldn’t be visible at all,” she said.
Bates continued, “We took a picture, this group picture. And after everyone walked away, the girl who had took the picture posted the picture with the caption ‘hashtag whatever,’ and the rest of us weren’t really aware of what she said.” She stressed, “In my opinion the picture was innocent until somebody made it wrong.”
Craig Swanson, principal at Lebanon High School said in a statement, “I think we need as a school to examine and educate the whole idea of blackface. Though there was a role for it, to understand that’s not acceptable, and I will take that on as principal.”
On Nov. 1, Superintendent Bo Yates sent out a letter, which read in part, “When an event such as this occurs it demands that we reevaluate our beliefs and priorities. Our team is moving forward to ensure that our students feel safe and respected and to restore the feeling of positive optimism for our schools and community.”
Bates complained, “People were blowing up my phone [saying] ‘you’re disgusting’, ‘You’re nasty’… There were people who like sent death threats and lots and lots of insults.”
The punished for the students in blackface and the other posted who used the hashtag n*gger gang” was a warning.
See the news clip below:
In case people didn’t know, blackface is born from minstrelsy, a performance method historically used by whites to depict “blackness” as an assemblage of derogatory stereotypes. Traditionally, performers wore exaggerated costumes and make-up, including painting their faces black. They distorted the eyes and lips of African-Americans, mocking their physical appearances, movements, intellectual ability and characters, according to a report by the National Museum Of African American History and Culture.