The University of Oklahoma says any member of the OU community who applies blackface is engaging in racism, even if the person wearing it doesn’t think they are being racist.
The university is making that statement after a third case of blackface in less than a year surfaced on OU’s Norman Campus.
OU Freshman Matt Robertiello tells the OU Daily student newspaper, "That is me, wearing a charcoal face mask, while I was at home with my girlfriend, I did not post the picture with any intention of 'blackface' as (they're) claiming I am. I feel as if I'm being framed as racist and I am not."
The University’s Vice President for Student Affairs said Monday, there is less of an understanding of the violent racial past surrounding blackface, but he said that isn’t an excuse.
“Ignorance never erases the impact on people when they are harmed,” Dr. David Surrat said. “In the end of the day, you can spill a cup of coffee on me, regardless of the intent, it still causes me pain. It still causes me harm.”
The Black Emergency Response Team student group brought the most recent picture to light.
The group said in a statement, “Despite not having all of the information, we are certain that our community is exhausted by such incidents of hate and ignorance.”
They said the picture was posted on Instagram with the caption “another day, another case.”
The controversy comes as OU celebrates civil rights accomplishments with events and dedications through the week.