An Elementary School Teacher In Iowa Dressed In Blackface For A Halloween Party & It Was Real Dumb

First-grade teacher Megan Luloff is being investigated by the Davenport School District after she wore blackface to a Halloween party, The Herald Sun reports.

The Root adds that the district itself is already under state supervision due to discrimination against minority students. It reportedly places a disproportionate percentage of minority students in special education, and punishes them more frequently and more harshly than their white counterparts.

You would think this would be a cue for employees to stay far away from anything that could possibly be perceived as discriminatory, or, you know, anything that’s been blatantly understood as such for decades.

Apparently not.

The Quad-City Times reports that Luloff and a group of friends went to the Walcott American Legion’s “Boos Bash” dressed as characters from the movie “Napoleon Dynamite.” Luloff was attempting to channel LaFawnduh, one of the film’s only black characters. (That’s an article for another day.)

Wouldn’t you have loved to be in the room when they were deciding who would dress as who? Did they know it was wrong, and just hoped Luloff’s privilege as a white woman would protect them from censure? Alternatively, did they know and just not care about the racist connotations? There's no way they could just not know, right?

As Vox explains, blackface has its origins in the minstrel shows of the 1800s, where white people would use grease to paint their faces in cartoonish imitations of black people. The idea, as it is for those who still do it today, is that race is a thing to play with, a mask you can put on for a few hours and a few laughs, then take off at the end of the show.

Unfortunately, actual black people don’t have this luxury. They can’t just shed their race whenever it’s convenient for them.

When there are so many comprehensive, well-researched articles about why blackface is offensive, it makes Megyn Kelly’s too-common cluelessness (whether it’s legitimate or not) all the more frustrating.

As for Luloff, the school district said in a statement that it “strives to provide a quality education enriched by our diverse community, in a fair and supportive environment for all. The images run counter to the respect, values, and beliefs the district promotes and should not be a reflection on the District as a whole.”

The statement, shared by the Quad-City Times, adds that an investigation is ongoing.

In conclusion: Blackface is racist. White people, do better. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.