A Los Gatos, California, high school administrators are responding to not one, but two incidents of racist prom invitations for a May 13 dance that have recently come to light.
Student Danika Lyle of Los Gatos High School first revealed the incidents on the school’s newspaper “El Gato” in which she criticized the two promposals, one where a student donned blackface and another where a person drew a hanging man on a tree asking a girl to be “be like a N***** and hang at prom.”
The student with the blackface, who is part Middle Eastern and part Caucasian, has apologized for the incident after it was made public. He claimed he first used an African-American bitmoji (a customized avatar) on Snapchat for his prom proposals but when his date seemed uncertain whether it was a real invitation, he dressed up as the said bitmoji.
“To dress up like my bitmoji, I had no racist intentions. I didn't mock the African-American community at any point,” the student, whose name has not been disclosed, told NBC News. “I just want to say I'm sorry if I offended anyone. That wasn't my intention. I'm not a racist kid, and I just want to say this is a big misunderstanding.”
However, the teenager’s actions are at odds with his words. As Lyle, who herself is half-black, pointed out the bitmoji had blue hair, wore a tank top and a bow but the student only chose “to blacken his face.”
The student’s apology was also lack-luster.
“People are offended by the stupidest things these days,” he further added in his non-apology statement. “At one point do we say enough is enough and let the offended run the world.”
The student responsible for the lynching picture has not apologized for the incident but the high school has issued a statement to parents:
“No communication about any school event should denigrate another person or group for any reason,” it stated. “We are aware of two prom asks this spring that have been of a racist nature and want this choice of behavior never to recur.”
The school also said the promposals were “racially offensive and contrary to the values of inclusion and belonging that are integral to the school culture at Los Gatos High School.”
Nonetheless, parents were understandably outraged by the racist incident.
“I was shocked. But then it shows me that he doesn’t see that that’s wrong,” Pilar Crawford told NBC Bay Area. “He doesn’t understand, or maybe he does, how black people feel about black face.”
“This is why I’m so protective of my daughter. Los Gatos is the most racist town I’ve lived in,” she added in a later Facebook post.
Los Gatos High School is predominantly white and Lyle believes that’s the reason students are less exposed to different type of cultures and perspective.
However, Crawford said, “It’s the parents that raised them to be racists.”
As for the racist student, he was only required to attend a 45-minute counseling session at the school. That’s the extent of his disciplinary action.