California Middle Schooler Banned From Sports Over ‘Blackface,’ but Group Says It Was Just Eye Paint
Kyle Morris, Fox News, November 13, 2023
A California middle school student was recently suspended and barred from attending future sporting events in the school district after being accused of wearing blackface at a football game.
The Oct. 13 incident that resulted in the student’s suspension – first brought to the public’s attention by the popular X account Libs of TikTok – took place at a high school football game between La Jolla High School and Morse High School.
The student – identified as J.A. for privacy reasons by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to defending freedom of speech – reportedly wore black face paint under his eyes for the game, leading to backlash from the principal of Muirlands Middle School in La Jolla.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 13, 2023
One week after the game, FIRE, which intervened in the matter in an effort to protect the student, said the principal called J.A. and his parents to a meeting, where he told them the student would face a two-day suspension and barred from attending future athletic events for wearing blackface.
The disciplinary notice obtained by FIRE described J.A.’s alleged offense as “painted his face black at a football game” and categorized the incident as “Offensive comment, intent to harm.”
Referring to the school’s “frivolous” claim that J.A.’s face paint constituted blackface, FIRE said the student was only following “a popular warpaint-inspired trend” used by athletes in recent history.
“Blackface is ‘dark makeup worn to mimic the appearance of a Black person and especially to mock or ridicule Black people.’ It has its origins in racist minstrel shows that featured white actors caricaturing black people, and generally entails covering the entire face in dark makeup and exaggerating certain facial features,” the group said. “By contrast, J.A. followed a popular warpaint-inspired trend of athletes applying large amounts of eye black under their eyes, which has no racial connotations whatsoever.”