If there should be one rule regarding Halloween, it would be to steer clear of culturally insensitive costumes. But for some reason there’s still a flurry of Blackface costumes ever year– and 2019 was no different.
According to NBC News, a teacher at a high school in Milpitas, California who wore blackface during Halloween to impersonate Common has been placed on administrative leave. The teacher has yet to be named but school board president Chris Norwood, who is African American, released a statement Sunday regarding the issue.
The unidentified teacher “chose to wear blackface paint and satirically imitate a TV commercial and well-known national social activist of the African American community,” Norwood said. He went on to condemn the costume by saying it “inappropriate, unprofessional and insensitive.”
The story first broke on Twitter when a student tweeted a video of the yet-to-be-named teacher reenacting Common’s popular artificial intelligence Microsoft commercial.
“Opportunities limitless, possibilities senseless, what will you do?” the teacher recites in the clip. “Millions of people, not enough to eat, what will we do? With A.I. Microsoft technology, the future—it’s up to you. You can do it. With A.I., the future will blow your mind.”
The school board president went on to say the disgusting act, unfortunately, reminded him of all the racism he, his parents, and most people of African descent have faced for centuries.
“In a school community where we welcome learners and families from over 50 languages who represent cultures and religions throughout the world, and where our long-standing neighborhood, Sunnyhills, was established as the first city in the nation for planned integration, it hurts to know that this type of cultural insensitivity and lack of cultural awareness still hovers in the background,” the statement said.
Peep the original Microsoft ad below.