- An old YouTube video resurfaced on social media over the weekend and sparked accusations of racism against Covington Catholic High School students, who are at the center of a controversy over a confrontation the group had with a Native American activist and a group of Black Hebrew Israelites.
- A video of the school’s student section, the “Colonel Crazies,” shows several students with their faces, chests, and arms covered in black paint.
- While the same video compilation shows students covered in other paint colours for other themes, the black paint resembles the racist blackface historically worn in productions mocking black people.
An old YouTube video that shows Covington Catholic High School students wearing black paint at a basketball game resurfaced over the weekend and sparked controversy among social-media users condemning the paint as blackface.
The “Colonel Crazies Compilation Video” depicts students in the crowd at basketball games with their faces, chests, and arms fully covered in black paint following along with school chants and motions.
The video, which was reportedly uploaded by the school in 2012 before being removed sometime over the weekend, also shows students covered in other paint colours, including blue and white, at events listed as “Braveheart March” and “White Out.”
One Twitter user posted a link to the compilation video alongside a picture from a game where all students in frame are dressed in black and four are covered in black paint, which the user called “blackface.”
The front few rows of students pictured are gathered around a player from the opposing team who appears to be black and who the tweet says was among those “verbally abused.”
VIDEO: https://t.co/pFgrJA1N0Q From :06 to 1:06 you can see a teacher or coach of #CovingtonCatholic leading the teens in a chant– several of the Covington students are in blackface. At this game, black players on the opposing team were verbally abused. pic.twitter.com/gqyNRUjYXD
— Marcus Henry Weber (@MarcusHWeber) January 21, 2019
The video calls to mind student sections that cheer along collegiate basketball teams, including Duke University’s “Cameron Crazies,” Texas A&M’s “12th Man,” and two Florida State University student fans who won attention in 2014 for covering themselves in head-to-toe glitter paint in the team’s colours.
However, the images of “Colonel Crazies” students in black paint resemble racist characterizations of black people in blackface productions historically put on by white people.
Twitter users who said they’re Covington Catholic alumni denied the accusations of racism and said the paint was common at games and followed a colour theme.
Correction. I graduated in 2011. We also played them our first game. My mistake. Still. This is me in my senior year. We did blackout my final game of regionals. pic.twitter.com/HHVByDoEVe
— Andrew S (@andrewcch12) January 22, 2019
Another purported alumnus said the Covington Catholic cheering section displayed the same behaviour and dress depicted in the videos and pictures shared on social media against all teams, “no matter the race or ethnicity.”
Lmaoooo. I was at this game SEVEN YEARS AGO. SEVEN! I’m shown in the background of this image. ITS CALLED A BLACKOUT THEME. WE HAD SCHOOL SPIRIT. WE DO THIS TO EVERY SCHOOL NO MATTER THE RACE OR ETHNICITY. Stop trying to force a fake story to drive your false narrative. https://t.co/9CRZZFxpeW
— Ryan Toler (@ryantoler_) January 22, 2019
The school came into the spotlight after a video went viral showing a group of its students in a confrontation with a Native American activist in Washington, DC, on Friday.
Many condemned the students’ behaviour in the video as racist, though extended footage released Sunday and a statement from the student at the center of the confrontation, Nick Sandmann, have added context to the incident.
Sandmann said that he and the other Covington Catholic students, who were in DC for the annual anti-abortion rally March for Life, were first targeted by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, who launched insults and slurs at the students.
The Native American activist, Nathan Phillips, said in a later interview that he inserted himself in “a dangerous situation” in an attempt to diffuse tensions among the groups. Students quickly gathered around him and sang in a manner many on social media cast as mocking upon the video’s original circulation.
- Read more:
- The school at the center of the controversy surrounding the viral video of a confrontation between students and a Native American protester closed Tuesday over safety concerns and threats
- Video shows teenagers in ‘MAGA’ hats in a confrontation with Native American protesters at Indigenous Peoples March
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