A white northern California school teacher has been placed on leave after he wore blackface on Halloween, apparently imitating the rapper Common.
David Carter is seen dressed in a white turtleneck and black jacket, akin to the musician's clothing in a Microsoft commercial, in a video shared on Twitter Friday by a student at Milpitas High School.
'Sooooooooo... one of our WHITE teachers at mhs yesterday decided to paint his face so look like common the rapper yesterday,' Karrington Kenny captioned the footage of the E-Tech academy engineering instructor, who used to be an American History educator at the school.
Carter seemingly raps about AI to a hip-hop inspired background beat in the video, despite Microsoft's artificial intelligence ambassador not doing so in his commercial from last FebruaryLoaded: 0%
There is no reaction from the students.
The shocking clip had more than 3,000 reactions by Monday morning and many people called for him to be fired.
'Fire David Carter NOW. As an American History teacher he knows exactlyyyyy the racial context and went through with this anyways,' one tweet read. 'In spite of his own black students well being. Abominable. Get him out of there.'
'I want to know where the hell the principal was when he arrived at school(work)?' a social media user commented. 'Where were his fellow teachers, office staff? Automatic level 1 complaint should be filed with the district and he no longer should be employed!!'
According to KTVU, the teacher wore the offending look as he imitated the musician-and-actor - Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn – for two periods at the school where the student body is two percent African American.
Kenny – Vice President of the school's Black Student Union - said in an interview that it was 'extremely upsetting' and tweeted: 'The school just told him to clean up.'
'In this community, we honestly don't have room for people, especially people who want to dress up in blackface, to come in here and still try to educate people on topics like this,' the 16-year-old told Mercury News on Sunday. 'That doesn't make sense that he gets to stay, and continue working there when he thought this type of behavior was appropriate.
'He really didn't have to do blackface in order to represent somebody. He really should have known better, especially him being a former history teacher.'
Some on social media pointed out that donning blackface did not help him look like Common at all.
'Common is light-skinned,' one Twitter user wrote about the African American activist. Another posted: 'and common not even that skin shade. he wanted to do blackface so bad.'
In a joint message to parents the community, Superintendent Cheryl Jordan and MHS Principal Francis Rojas said: 'It is essential that every MUSD student and parent/guardian can expect to have a safe environment in which they can feel respected and valued. The actions of a staff member on Halloween adversely affected this expectation because of the choice to wear blackface paint.
'Blackface paint has a historical and present-day connotation of racism that demeans those of African ancestry. The act was disparaging to our students, parents, colleagues and the Milpitas community we serve. Our Human Relations team has placed the employee on leave and appropriate action will be taken pending further investigation.'