Teacher placed on leave after wearing blackface.
Teacher placed on leave after wearing blackface.

Teacher wears blackface, raps to class

A teacher at a California high school wore blackface on Halloween while imitating rapper Common - and spat out a cringe-worthy in-class performance, video shows.

The unidentified Milpitas Unified School District staffer, who is white, swayed as he rapped to students over a simple beat while wearing a basic black-and-white ensemble in front of a class at Milpitas High School, The Mercury News reported.

"Opportunities limitless, possibilities senseless, what will you do?" the educator rapped. "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 teacher, who has been placed on administrative leave, was crudely highlighting Common's social activism and role as the face of Microsoft's advertising campaign for its artificial intelligence technology - but the production completely missed the mark, district and school officials said.

"The action(s) were inappropriate, unprofessional and insensitive," school board president Chris Norwood said in a statement. "As an African American man, the history of blackface reminds me of the cruelty, hatred and fear my parents and people of African ancestry have dealt with in the past and still experience today around the world."

The embarrassing footage was posted to Twitter late on Friday by a 16-year-old student who said the teacher previously taught history at the school but now covered a different subject. She later identified him on Twitter as "Mr Carter," although district officials have not released his name, citing a confidential personnel matter.


The teacher dressed up as rapper Common. Picture: Twitter/Getty Images
The teacher dressed up as rapper Common. Picture: Twitter/Getty Images


"In this community, we honestly don't have room for people, especially people who want to dress up in blackface, to come in here and still try to educate people on topics like this," the student and vice-president of the school's Black Student Union, Karrington Kenny, told The Mercury News. "That doesn't make sense that he gets to stay and continue working there when he thought this type of behaviour was appropriate."

The staffer simply "should have known better," Karrington said, adding the video was the "talk of the town" over the weekend.

The NAACP's chapter in San Jose has received 15 calls and emails from irate students and parents about the incident, KNTV reported.

"It's harmful, it's hurtful," Reverend Jethroe Moore II told the station. "It's not the right environment for a student of colour to see their teacher perform like that."

One parent of a student at the school, meanwhile, said she didn't understand what the teacher was trying to accomplish.

"When they look at that blackface, what message is he trying to send the students?" Francine Pham told KNTV. "That is totally wrong."

This article originally appeared on NY Post and was reproduced with permission