UIW athletes apologize for blackface Halloween costumes

UIW athletes apologize for blackface Halloween costumes

SAN ANTONIO - Students at The University of The Incarnate Word discussed race on Thursday night after three student-athletes dressed up in blackface for Halloween.

The African Student Association said many of its members became upset after pictures of the Halloween costumes surfaced on social media. They originally wanted to take their frustrations to social media, but decided to contact the UIW faculty instead, ASO member Kelechi Emeodi revealed during the forum. He also said they started to feel faculty did not take their concerns seriously.

“We just got the idea that nobody cared about what we had to say,” Emeodi said. “The fact that the president found out a week later means that the faculty didn’t see it was important to tell him.”

Emeodi said ASO reached out to other Black student organizations from the University of Texas at San Antonio and Trinity University to get help on how to bring awareness to the issue. That is when they decided to take the issue to social media, which sent Twitter into a frenzy.

During the forum, titled 'Let's Talk about Race,' the three student-athletes at the center of the controversy addressed the crowd.

"We just want to apologize and say we're sorry for any hurt that we've caused. It was an honest mistake. There was nothing more to it than dressing up as a character,” one softball player, who did not identify herself, said.

"I'm really hurt from what I did and I really didn't mean to do it in any malicious way, nor would I ever. I too did not know what blackface meant until I met with Dr. Moore too and I just really want to say I'm sorry for everything,” another softball player said as she fought back tears.

The two softball players used blackface to dress up as characters from the popular Madea movie series. A student-athlete who identified himself as a member of the UIW Men’s Swimming and Diving team also dressed up in blackface as a rap artist he said he respected.

"My intent was not malicious at all. I was raised in a family that taught me to respect everyone and not disrespect anyone in any way,” the diver said.

Blackface is when actors paint their face, often with black grease, to resemble Black people. It is considered offensive and disrespectful to Black people.

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