Ole Miss honors student wears blackface, prompts warning

A University of Mississippi honors student recently reported himself to the college for posting a photo online of him wearing blackface, prompting the school to issue a warning about costumes

OXFORD, Miss. -- A University of Mississippi honors student has reported himself to the college for posting a photo in which he is wearing blackface, prompting the school to issue a warning about costumes.

Citing a school email, news outlets report the student told the college he acknowledged "the racist and hurtful impact of his poor judgment." The undated photo shows the student also wearing an honors college shirt.

The university sent an email to the school community last week saying the student, who was not identified, is now working on a "Restorative Justice Plan" that includes working with people negatively affected by his actions.

Another email titled "My Culture Is Not A Costume" warns students to avoid culturally inappropriate behavior and cites "a recent post."

"As the season of fall parties and Halloween celebrations approaches, a disturbing trend on college campuses involves students and campus organizations engaging in culturally inappropriate behavior," the letter states. "Some examples include the use of blackface, costumes that mock or demean other people's culture, and identity-based slurs."

It also includes tips on how to choose costumes that don't demean others.

Politicians, celebrities and others in recent years have apologized after photos surfaced showing that they darkened their skin with makeup.

In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam apologized but faced calls for his resignation after a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced in February. The photo showed a young man in blackface next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. Northam promptly apologized without saying which person was him. Then a day later, he denied being in the photograph at all, while admitting he wore blackface as Michael Jackson at a dance contest decades ago.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey apologized in August for wearing blackface years before entering politics.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also apologized last month after a yearbook photo surfaced showing him in brownface makeup at a 2001 costume party.

The practice reinforces racial stereotypes and reduces Native Americans, Latinos, African Americans and other people of color based on skin tones and exaggerated physical features, social scientists say.


The headline of this story has been edited to correct "students" to "student."