There has been yet another incident involving a student posting racially offensive content on social media.
The disturbing photo has gone viral since being posted yesterday.
The image, which is a screenshot from Snapchat, shows a former Kansas State University student named Paige Shoemaker and a friend with dark facial masks on.
They are both holding up the hand sign for the Westside Gang, and the caption of the photo reads, “Feels good to finally be a n***a.”
Students have expressed their anger surrounding the post.
Semaj Young, a student at Kansas State, posted the photo as well as Shoemaker's Facebook profile.
WARNING: Image below contains language that may be offensive to some readers.
Others outside of the university have also responded to the incident.
Muenfua Lewis, a former president of the school’s Black Student Union, says, however, he’s not surprised. According to The Washington Post, he said,
“I think really it just brought to light a lot of these issues underlying at this university and at most universities and things students of color deal with. I think it’s just ongoing in higher education, with a lot of systemic issues that inhibit historically underrepresented students from being the best they could possibly be on campus.”
Lewis said that although the student body is angry, they are also eager to make changes in response to the situation. His group has already been calling for changes, such as mandating classes on diversity for all students and enforcing an anti-racism policy in writing.
Zelia Wiley, the interim associate provost for diversity, released a statement saying that the “involved person is not currently enrolled at the university,” and that “the second individual in the photo is not associated with the university.”
According to Fusion, Shoemaker said that the photo “was sent in a joking manner to our friends. I am the least racist and most accepting person you will meet. Never would I send it in a derogatory way.”
“We want people to know it’s not blackface,” Shoemaker told CNN. “We did not paint our faces intentional [sic]. We did not do this in hopes of taking this picture and posting it all over. We clearly understand that what was said and done was completely disrespectful. We will battle everyone for the right to make things right, because we know what we did was wrong.”
Though Shoemaker addresses the controversy and anger regarding the incident, her denial about it being blackface is an offense in itself. Whether or not what she did was intentional, it is blackface at the core and needs to be apologized for.
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