‘We were more than just slaves’: Students rally for more black history after blackface incident

About 100 students walked out of class Tuesday morning and marched to the Sun Prairie Area School District building following a blackface incident this weekend.

The students, from Sun Prairie High School, Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School and Prairie Phoenix Academy, said the district isn’t teaching students enough about the history of racism and isn’t doing enough to stop racism in schools.

“We feel like teachers and stuff should take more caution about these types of things because there’s a lot of real racist people in our school and we don’t feel right, that don’t feel right at all,” said Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School student Dvail Washinton.

Washington said he felt offended when he heard about one of his fellow students painting his face black at Saturday’s high school football game. He is also upset that the student was only suspended for two days.

Students said the boy claimed he didn’t know what blackface meant.

About 2 dozen @sunprairiek12 high school girls are walking out of class after a student wore blackface to a basketball game this weekend. #news3now pic.twitter.com/uQWqEEnij1

— Amanda Quintana (@AmandaQTV) November 26, 2019

“I think he did it because he thought that he would get a reaction, but he didn’t think it would be a reaction this big. Like he thought it was going to be funny, and he didn’t think us black people would take it (as) offensive. And not only black people, people that know about black history,” said student Tajahlae Sago.

Sago said the students marched to the school district office to show staff that more black history should be taught in school, including the history of blackface.

“We were more than just slaves, and all they teach is slaves,” said Sago.

When the students arrived at the school district building, they were shuttled inside for a private meeting with district staff. News 3 Now was not allowed on the property and the school district refused to comment.

Dozens of Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School students have joined the protest. #news3now pic.twitter.com/DZztteR17a

— Amanda Quintana (@AmandaQTV) November 26, 2019

Students said that while they were inside, the superintendent vowed to do more.

While some believe change will happen because the superintendent “sounded very serious,” others don’t think anything will result from this meeting.

“They’re telling us they’re going to do something, but they’re not actually going to do something. They’re saying it, they’re not being about it. They’re not actually going to do anything. They’re telling us they will, but they won’t,” said Sago.

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