They say it was just an innocent act of intimidation, something they do every year at their high school. But one photo that’s gone viral has a lot of people raising their eyebrows at Sullivan High School in Sullivan, Mo., just 60 miles southwest of St. Louis.
Jennifer Schmidt, the principal at Sullivan, said at first she was shocked when the girls ran onto the football field with their faces painted black, but then she realized it wasn’t a big deal. “And then I thought, ‘Oh, they don’t mean anything by it. Just let it go. No one thinks anything of it.’ I didn’t think anyone did,” Schmidt told the River Front Times. “Evidently, someone did.”
Here is where I’ll use my mother’s favorite saying: “Play dumb if you want.”
According to Schmidt, powder-puff team members wear a different color on their faces every year for their annual game. Schmidt said that last year team members wore black and gold; she doubts they’ll wear blackface again because of the backlash.
“So that’s what they wore,” said Schmidt. “There was nothing racial about it. They didn’t have any other intention other than to just try to intimidate the underclassmen.”
Schmidt also said the school hasn’t taken any disciplinary action against the girls. Nor does it seem that officials plan on it. “I can assure you they will not be wearing blackface paint again,” she said. “In fact, we’re probably just going to end the face-paint thing, and nobody wears any at all.”
Or you can end just the blackface, especially since it’s offensive.