Powder-Puff Football Team Plays In Blackface For Some Horrible Reason

Sullivan High School in Sullivan, Missouri holds an annual powder-puff football game to raise money for the school’s prom. At the game, which was held November 5, the team stormed the football field in blackface. The school’s principal, Jennifer Schmidt, was initially shocked to see the girls’ faces but decided to overlook it (what the hell!?). She told the Riverfront Times, “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. Evidently, someone did.” Well, of course people did.

The SHS athletic department posted (and since deleted) snapshots of the game on Twitter. According to Schmidt, the images were taken from a distance so viewers wouldn’t see the players’ face paint. The team wears face paint almost every year, but they usually wear both of the team’s colors (black and gold). This year, the girls apparently all happened to buy black paint by mistake. The paint is meant to mock football players’ trademark under-eye paint stripes and “to intimidate the underclassmen.” According to Schmidt, “there was nothing racial about it” and that the school will likely stop allowing students to wear any kind of face paint in the future.

The problem here (well, the most glaring one among many) is that intention doesn’t matter when all most of us are seeing is the end result. No matter what message the face paint was meant to send, blackface already has an egregious cultural context and meaning attached to it. Was it a genuine mistake? Maybe, but that doesn’t make it okay. Even if it were a mistake on the girls’ part (though I find it hard to believe that not one of them stopped to think “hey, maybe this is a horrible and offensive idea”), that wouldn’t change the fact that Schmidt knew it was inappropriate and did nothing to stop it. Ignorance is a completely bullshit excuse here. Deep sigh. [The Root; Riverfront Times] [Image via Facebook]

Tags: blackface, racism