A teacher from Iowa has apologised for wearing blackface to a Halloween party and said she didn’t realise it was offence.
Megan Luloff, who painted her face black as part of a costume of LaFawnduh from Napoleon Dynamite, added that she would never offend anyone with a different skin colour because she knows what it’s like to be picked on – her child is albino.
The 32-year-old teacher, from Walcott Elementary School, was photographed with her face, arms and feet covered in dark makeup to appear black, but insists she had no idea about the historic connotations attached to the practise
In response the Favenport School District launched an investigation on 22 October, according to the New York Post.
My latest ... Blackface teacher’s defense: I didn’t know what it was, and my kid’s an albino! https://t.co/hD5ueHoNGq
— Joshua Rhett Miller (@Joshua Rhett Miller)
Luloff’s attorney quickly released a statement in an attempt to address the matter.
At no point during her preparation for the party, or her participation at the event, did Megan ever intend to mock the character’s ethnicity or take any action intended to be offensive to anyone/
At this point in time Megan had never heard the term "Blackface" nor did she know the history of the term. If she had that knowledge she never would have participated in such a way that she deeply regrets her actions.
He added that she is a parent to an albino child and as such she knows how "sensitive feelings about appearance can be".
"She knows how hurtful and damaging it can be when you think someone is mocking your appearance," the statement continued.
Throughout history, people affected by albinism have been humiliated, mocked, sent away from their families, worst of all beaten and thought of 'witchcraft'.
Unfortunately, this is a personal experience and knowledge that she did not have at the time with regard to Blackface.
America has a long and hideous history with blackface and the oppression of black people. Blackface, which originated in the minstrel shows of the 19th century, were used as a form of comedy to make fun of black people.
Aaron Bos-Wahl, who says he is from Iowa and is a school teacher, wrote on a Facebook post:
The fact that Ms. Luloff wore this racist costume is deeply disturbing. But what I find more troubling is the apparent absence of any form of district-mandated training for white teachers in being culturally literate educators.
If those who are given the great responsibility and privilege to teach our next generation are completely ignorant of blackface’s role in supporting and justifying the institutions of Jim Crow and slavery, then something is very amiss.