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For the second time in a week, students at the University of Dakota have caused outrage by posting racist content on social media. This time a group of students posted an image of themselves wearing 'blackface' face masks to Snapchat, with the caption "Black lives matter."
Blackface is clearly considered as racist due to its history and roots in the oppression and mockery of black people by white people. It was used by minstrels to mock black people in the 19th century and it is being used to mock the contemporary civil rights movement in 2016.
White entertainers put on a 'blackface' to impersonate black people.
Explaining previously why blackface makeup is racist, Huffington Post reporter Julia Craven wrote: "The history of blackface is complex, but it's inescapably rooted in the notion that black folks are inherently less than white people, and that they shouldn't be allowed to portray themselves onstage. While you may think it's harmless to paint yourself black for Halloween, it's not. This is the tradition you're joining, whether or not you know it.
"Once you're done masquerading as a black person - employing the same techniques used not just to belittle the black experience, but to prop up the systemic subjugation of the entire race - you get to remove the colour from your skin. Black people do not have this luxury. We cannot wash our blackness from ourselves, nor can we eliminate all the stereotypes and all the forms of oppression that come with it."
The university said it is in the process of investigating the incident. However, it comes after a different group of white students posted an image of themselves to Snapchat with the caption "locked the black bitch out", after locking their flatmate out of their dorm.
Image credit: Facebook
Etonde Maloke, a student at the university, shared what happened on her Facebook page, writing: "I'm so livid!! We all know racism is alive and well (whether you like to admit it not). When said acts of racism happen at your school, it is infuriating and heart breaking."
"My friend was not aware that they had done this and didn't even realise they had put this on her Snapchat story until another friend of ours pointed it out. The University of North Dakota needs to take action against these students for this blatant act of racism."
The University of North Dakota's president Mark Kennedy released a statement addressing both episodes.
He said: "I am appalled that within 48 hours two photos with racially-charged messages have been posted on social media and associated with the UND campus community."
"It is abundantly clear that we have much work to do at the University of North Dakota in educating our students, and the entire university community on issues related to diversity, inclusion, and respect for others.
"I have been disappointed to learn that we have people in our university community who don't know that the kind of behaviour and messaging demonstrated in these two photos is not OK, and that, in fact, it is inexcusable."
A total of 14,951 student study at the University of North Dakota, 2.5 percent of which are black. However, the majority of the student body - more than 78 percent - are white.
University police have set up an investigation to look into the incidents.
Featured image credit: Snapchat
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