McDonald's
CBS Chicago/YouTube
in , , , ,

Chicago High Students Spark Outrage After Filming Themselves Harassing McDonald’s Workers While Wearing Blackface

A group of Chicago-area high school students have come under fire after photos and videos shared to social media revealed they’d driven around in blackface and harassed staff at a McDonald’s drive-through.

At least three white Homewood-Flossmoor students were in the car, their faces painted black. The footage shows them ordering from the drive-through while making crass remarks about African American women.

You can watch the video footage in the news broadcast below:

Although school administrators said the “highly offensive and culturally insensitive” behavior “will not be condoned,” parents are dissatisfied, including mother Nicole Brookens, who told ABC7:

“I know these kids, I know these parents, these are my daughter’s classmates, this is going to cause more tension to an already tension-riddled community.”

But the mother of one of the students seen in the video, who spoke to the press on condition of anonymity, said her son and his friends were unaware about the seriousness of donning blackface (let alone the act’s implications):

“This is a very serious thing. As crazy as it sounds, it is not about race. We are not racist. The students didn’t even know what ‘blackface’ meant until they Googled it later. It was a complete dumb and childish act.”

But African American students at the school are saying that’s not true.

Acque Warner, a senior at the school, told WGN9:

“We learned about this stuff when we were in middle school. We learned about it when we were even younger than that.”

Another one of the school’s African American students spoke to The Chicago Tribune, said that their classmates should have known better, calling their excuse “invalid”:

“We were in the same class and we were taught (about blackface), so that’s how I know that they know what it is, so that’s just an invalid excuse.”

The student body is angry, and many participated in a walkout on Tuesday.

The incident has also sparked considerable outrage on social media.

Punishments for the students who participated in the video have not been publicized; the school did not elaborate on what actions had been taken, citing confidentiality laws.

We all know what blackface symbolizes. And if you don’t, educate yourself. There is no excuse for citing ignorance here.