‘Insisting They’re Innocent Babies’: Social Media Calls Out Framing of White School Girls Mocking Black History Month In Blackface Video

Around Tuesday, Feb. 7, a “Black History Month” video of white teen girls hanging out was posted online and is currently viral.

The 45-second clip did not celebrate the accomplishments of Black people but mocked the community with the depiction of one girl spraying the face of another with black spray paint and reminding the world of slavery’s ugly past. The fallout led one Philadelphia school attended by two of the girls to cancel in-person classes this week.

Blackface by Philadelphia School girls
A 45-second clip a girl spraying the face of another with black spray. (Photo: Twitter video/WeSeeYouKaren)

“It’s February,” a brown-haired girl with the aerosol can screeches. She grabs her giggling friend by her hair, sprays the black paint on her face, and says, “you’re nothing but a slave.”

The painted girl, sitting on the bed, starts to cough between her laughter. In a thick Philadelphia accent, the girl says, “Now, after this, you’re doing my laundry.”

The one girl recording mentions how someone’s mother is “never letting anyone in,” right before the white girl whose face is blackened says, “I’m Black, and I am proud.”

Now some of the girls are facing discipline as their racist joke is shared across social media.

Two Philadelphia schools have spoken out since the disturbing cellphone video, CNN reports.

According to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, two of the individuals in the video attend St Hubert Catholic High School for Girls and are no longer in class, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“We recognize and understand that the actions of these students have reopened societal wounds in a deeply painful way. Those allegedly responsible are not present in school and are being disciplined appropriately,” the archdiocese stated in a formal statement.

The bubbling sounds of laughter suggest there are more than the three girls on camera in the room.

Catholic school administrators from the school and the Office of Catholic Education have started investigating the incident, and said, “Should that process determine involvement by any other students, they will also face disciplinary action.”

The third girl in the video used to attend Franklin Towne Charter High School, although it is unclear whether she was a Franklin Towne student when the video was recorded, CNN reports. In a statement released on Wednesday, Feb. 8, the school condemned the “hateful behavior” and “anyone involved in it.” 

The school stated, “The Franklin Towne Community is both saddened and appalled by the events surrounding the racist video that has been on social media.”

“Franklin Towne is a school that values inclusion and will not tolerate hate in any manner.  The former student who took part in this video, and any other students who may choose to participate in this type of behavior have no place at our school,” the statement added.

The incident has sparked protests outside of the Saint Hubert, which switched to at-home learning this week in the immediate aftermath of the video’s emergence.

The president of the local branch of the NAACP, Catherine Hicks, said, “It is extremely disheartening to have to address this, especially during the observance of Black History Month, that honors the accomplishments and rich history of Black people.”

“The video showing the egregious acts of Philadelphia Archdiocese white female students spray painting a young lady’s face Black is totally unacceptable,” the statement continued, adding that anyone suggesting this was a joke “is not only appalling but shows us the continued cycle of racism that we are constantly fighting against.” 

People on social media agreed, saying, “So if some of our North Philly girls go up there [and] rock their world, they will be crying we didn’t mean it.”

Another person said this is learned behavior, “If this is on their minds to do then clearly it’s being taught at home.”

“Then you go to work and her mom is your supervisor,” a person wrote. “On so many levels this is beyond disturbing. “

Leslie Streeter took to Twitter to explain this is the face of racism in America. She tweeted, “Some of you think racism is only burning crosses and yelling slurs at people. It’s also making videos painting your friends in blackface and screaming ‘It’s February.’”

A few parents of Black students who used to be enrolled at St. Hubert said they pulled their children out because of the hostile environment and the racially charged community that allowed their young ones to be harassed so badly it was too much for them to bear.

One parent, Lamar Martin, who used to be the school’s track coach said he even felt it as a person on staff at the school. He said the racial tension was a factor in his contract not being renewed.

As a result of the toxic climate, he withdrew his daughter from the school in November, saying, “She felt as though there was other racist issues in the school and every time she tried to voice her opinion — like she actually went to the president, went to the principal — they did absolutely nothing about it.”

For Nikole Hines, it was audacious for the administration to think she would keep paying for her child to attend and not be protected from the racist behavior of some of the stakeholders on campus.

She transferred her daughter in the summer of 2020, right before her senior year.

“They promote love and acceptance, but my child didn’t feel any of that in the three years she was there.”

Parents pay approximately $9,000 a year for their students to attend St. Hubert, a high school that is 77 percent white and 5 percent Black.

“I was paying for my child to get harassed and bullied,” Hines explained. “And it’s not OK.”

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