US & Canada

US student in 'blackface' mocks Black Lives Matter campaign

Protestors hold up banners saying "stop killing us" outside Charlotte Police Station Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The video was shared amid rising tensions in the US, fuelled by anger at the disproportionate number of black people killed by police officers

A video of a US student in "blackface" apparently mocking the Black Lives Matter campaign has sparked outrage.

The Snapchat video shows a white student wearing an Albright College T-shirt with her face painted brown.

She is then heard to say "Black Lives Matter" - seeming to make fun of the protest movement - before dancing offensively for the camera.

Race tensions are high in the US currently, amid growing anger over police killings of black people.

The Black Lives Matter has grown up in protest against such deaths.

Albright College - which two weeks ago received an award for its diversity - made an immediate apology for the video, made in one of its halls of residence.

"We unequivocally condemn the behaviour in the video," Lex O. McMillan III, president of the Pennsylvania college, said. "It is unacceptable by any member of our community and in no way represents the values of Albright."

'Deep remorse'

Mr McMillan said the student had come forward and expressed "deep remorse" for their actions, and they were currently considering what disciplinary action to take.

Out on the campus, there were calls for those involved to be expelled.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Racial tensions have come to the fore during the presidential campaign

"Why did she think that was okay? How was that appropriate? Like, how did that come about?" said Albright freshman Dymond Bullock asked WFMZ.com.

Albright is the second American college to become embroiled in a race row over blackface - which emerged as a racist stereotype portraying black people as inferior in the 19th century - this month.

Historically the term referred to the make-up worn by non-black performers to represent a black person, often portraying them in a racially stereotyped way or as inferior. As it evokes historical mockery and racism it is considered deeply offensive by many.

Kansas State University was forced to make a statement after one of its former students posted a picture of themselves in a mud facemask, captioning it with "one of the most derogatory words in the English language" before posting it to Snapchat.

After clarifying the woman involved was no longer enrolled in the university, interim associate provost for diversity Zelia Wiley published a letter stating: "This racially offensive photo with a derogatory message has upset the K-State family and is not in concert with our principles of community. Such messages on social media are harmful to all."

Meanwhile, a white student dressed as a gorilla who confronted protesters during a Black Lives Matter march at East Tennessee State University was charged with civil rights intimidation by the Johnson City Police Department.

According to police brutality monitoring group Mapping Police Violence, 217 black people have been shot so far in 2016 by police out of a total of more than 820 people. African Americans make up about 14% of the US population, according to census data.

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