Two Hopkins Students Charged After Protesting ‘Modern Day Blackfacing’

The black students said they were upset about white ski team members who dressed up for ‘ghetto spirit day.’ The white students said they called it ‘rapper day.’

Prosecutors have charged two Hopkins High School students with misdemeanors following a confrontation in the assistant principal's office, Minnesota Public Radio reported Wednesday. The confrontation arose when the students tried to protest the school’s handling of an incident in which they say several white students mocked black culture.

On Feb. 13, Hopkins ski team members dressed up for what they told officials they called “rapper day.” Black students said the ski team members actually called it "ghetto spirit day."

MPR quoted one of the students as saying:

They dressed up like gangsters basically. There were sagging chinchilla coats with the chains, joint in the ear just mocking our culture. Really how we reacted, we felt it was modern day 'blackfacing.'

The black students complained to school administrators, but school officials said it was too late in the day to do anything.

Several black students made posters protesting the school’s actions. Administrators took down the posters because they were not brought to the school office beforehand for approval.

The next day, two black students went to the assistant principal’s office and tried to take the posters back. Officials called a Minnetonka Police officer who works in the school, and a police report states one of the students put his hand on the officer’s chest and tried to leave with the posters.

He was handcuffed.

Both students deny that they ever touched the officer.

Click here to read the full story. 

Do you think the school acted appropriately? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Mike B. April 18, 2013 at 04:57 PM
If the "students" did accost the officer, they should be handcuffed and arrested. Police have a tough enough job as it is. The school administrators were correct to call the police, as it would appear the school administrators were threatened and intimidated by the "students." Regarding the alleged incident itself.... these "students" who were arrested seem to be making a federal case out of nothing. Nowadays, every little perceived annoyance is blown up into a false charge of racism.
Michael O April 19, 2013 at 01:08 PM
Yes, it was racist, as it would be if the black students did something similar about white culture. Yes the posters should be taken down, if not approved. Yes, they should be handcuffed, if indeed the police officers were touched inappropriately. Finally, these kids need to talk to each other at length about what motivated the behavior, and learn to respect each other.
Tara Taylor April 19, 2013 at 03:36 PM
So, sagging pants, "joints", chains...akin to rappers or "gangsters" (who are oft white also) is considered specifically African American culture? And someone was offended by it? I'm having difficult time seeing why a) mocking rappers or b) mocking "gangsters" is deplorable. Is it then an equal offfense to dress in a straw hat, blacked out tooth, and overalls or dawning pencil protectors to mock "white" culture? To liken it to black-facing is ridiculous. There are a fair share of White, Asian, and Latino/a "gangsters" in the world also.
joe April 19, 2013 at 04:44 PM
I'm getting really tired of the one way over sensitivity. In Hopkins, I have heard whites called Cracker, Casper, Whitey, but nothing ever happens with that.
Miss Minnetonka International 2012 April 19, 2013 at 05:23 PM
If anyone knows who the student protestors are please let them know to get in contact with me. As a woman of color, a resident of Hopkins, and a School Social Worker of another school district; I feel there has been a HUGE oversight of these students feels, perspective, and voice. Hopkins has struggled on and office with racial tensions for years and maybe all these students wanted was some validation that there feelings were real. I AM MORE THAN HAPPY TO HELP!
G Cremer April 19, 2013 at 07:32 PM
It was racist and disgusting. The High School administration, teachers and the ski team coach and any student that was offended by this behavior is at fault for not informing the school of their racist and incendiary dress and for not sending the team members home. The fact that the black students broke the "poster rules" is a lame attempt at blaming the victims. The white students received no disciplinary action at all? That's disgusting and I am sure didn't do anything but increase racial tension. Shame on you Hopkins High School. I'll pay the $100.00.
Kate Rivard April 19, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Perhaps also the Liason should take "joints" more seriously with the teenage crowd. If these kids can be mocked and then play with an officer at school and deny it, what do they do to their parents at home? Mock them, say that they never touched them and then the officer doesn't arrest? Marijuana is a problem that our society doesn't care about. Mocking anyone as in gangster day is somebody's idea from their youth. They haven't experienced their kids doing damage or flipping out into chemical use, stealing or the like. Yes, it is both black and white and encompasses all ethnicities who become involved as "gang" members. The school made a poor choice to have such a theme. No blame here, just a recommendation to change that theme for the times - especially in Hopkins Minnesota
Cooper Gosling April 20, 2013 at 02:26 AM
Why do you keep putting the word student in quotation marks. Are you insinuating that they are not students? There is absolutely nothing in this news story to indicate that what you've implied is correct.
Cooper Gosling April 20, 2013 at 02:29 AM
Wow, I am shocked by the latent white-person anger I read in these comments. These kids were right to be outraged. They are to be congratulated for taking this to administrators rather than confronting the ski team themselves, and then they chose to protest the administration's response rather than pitch a fit in the office. What happened after that is not clear, and you only have the administrators' word for it. These responses make me feel ashamed to be a white person in this community.
Derrick April 20, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Since when is the 'blackface' used so flippantly, especially with regards to this incident? The use of this term in conjunction with what happened totally underscores and minimizes the term and its' history. Calling white students, who are mimicking what I see as the negative side of hip hop culture, modern day blackface(ers) is the pot calling itself black, so to speak. I am African-American, and I don't want my culture lumped together with the underside of hip hop culture: saggy pants, objectifying women, gold chains, using the 'n' word, doo rags,... all of these 'cultural norms' in conjunction with the ones being protested, have nothing to do with black culture. For anybody to insinuate or overtly state that they do, needs a lesson on black culture. If these kids were truly offended, then they should have been able to, or they need to learn how to, frame their frustration in a constructive way to exact change, not throw around 'catch' phrases like 'blackface' and get the police involved....in order to make their complaint that much more relevant, because it does not, it cheapens it.
Alan Stone April 21, 2013 at 05:37 PM
People, especially white Christian people and that includes white Christian students don't begin to understand the hurt, the anger, etc. etc. etc. that discrimination causes those that have been discriminated against. The school was completely out of line for letting this happen, from beginning to finish.
Angela April 22, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Yes it was definitely an act of racism, "too late in the day to do anything"? Are you kidding me? That's ridiculous and so racist, it should've been handled and the members of the ski team should have had consequences right away. And knowing how police officers are, loving a little drama themselves, I doubt these boys put their hands on the officers, and now they're arrested? Disgusting! Any black man in his right mind would know better than to do that to a white officer (I think it's a good assumption they were white), with all the insane police brutality committed against black males, yeah right. And I'm a white woman. Please have these kids get in touch with someone, something needs to be done!
Angela April 22, 2013 at 04:20 PM
They tried to handle it the right way Derrick, you said the key phrase "they should have been able to", but they weren't, and they're often not. And why are you associating doo rags with the "underside" of hip hop culture? And yes, doo rags are a part of BLACK culture, they're worn to create waves, why would any other race need to wear them? And I agree, it can be very well considered, as he put it "MODERN day blackfacing". Quit trying to go out of your way and all the way right just to prove that YOU are not a stereotype, good for you, but be fair!
Chris April 22, 2013 at 05:16 PM
This is completely shameful on the part of the ski team members, their coach, and the school administration. The ski team members perpetrating this should have been sent home immediately upon entering the school in this costuming. I can imagine that there would have been a different scenario if students had come in David Koresh or Lee Harvey Oswald masks to celebrate "history day".
h147 April 22, 2013 at 08:27 PM
So you can't dress up at school anymore. Sad. These whimpy kids need get some thicker skin. They showed their true colors in the principals office by nearly assulting a police officer.
Angela April 22, 2013 at 08:58 PM
holls, your ignorance and insensitivity has been shown. That's what you call it, "dress up"? Well playing "dress up" is for small kids. And we don't know if these kids put their hands on an officer, highly unlikely, your using the word "assaulting", you MUST be a racist.
Gene D April 23, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Totally incencitive on part of the School typical police response he he put his hand s on the officer and probabbly because the officer was in his space defelect the situation arrested the poor student why dont we lock up all black students
Cassandra Lund April 23, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Red Wing High grad sues over 'Wigger Day' : http://www.startribune.com/local/126739938.html?refer=y This is nothing new people. Everyone involved should have handled things differently. The ski team is at fault for being insensitive and the two students are at fault for not following school policy. High school is not the real world and everyone has to be on their tiptoes. You can't just waltz around mocking people (race and culture aside), you can't just throw up posters whenever you want and you certainly can't put your hands on a police officer. Whether the "Rapper Day" was mocking black culture or not, students were offended by it and this creates a hostile environment. If they had chosen "Nerd Day", I am sure students who wear large glasses, braces, and whatever other stereotypical "nerd" accessories would be offended. High schools simply need stricter guidelines when it comes to Spirit days to avoid these kinds of problems.
Pulsespirit1 April 27, 2013 at 03:54 AM
... The Hopkins school administrators could have shown more concern and sensitivity to the caucasian kids mocking African Americans, and the way which many of them dress and talk, though. They, also could have given the two students back the posters who wanted them back; but, let them know that they couldn't put them up again, or they would be arrested if they did do that, again.
Pulsespirit1 April 27, 2013 at 04:00 AM
...It's too bad that "cultural diversity" is just not working for the good of folks anywhere, inasmuch as cultural perversity and race hatred against one another is the new world disorder of the day, now!
Shayna April 28, 2013 at 09:04 AM
I find it interesting that people speak of these events and details recalled by high school students, any of them, in an emotionally charged situation, and regard them as facts. Allow the school to follow due process and fully investigate the situation. Have ANY of you dealt with teenagers, at all, and especially in a group scenario? Knowing that all situations can be misinterpreted, anytime you have kids with competing viewpoints, a heated situation, and social media involved, there is always more to the story.
Ray April 28, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Except that it seems the school administration decided to punished only the coloreds. How nice.
G Cremer April 29, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Shayna, All we can go on is what has been printed in the news articles on Patch and Star Trib. That goes for what the students and the school admin. each claim to be true. The point is that the black students filed a complaint/followed procedure and the school ignored it.
Metanym April 29, 2013 at 03:52 AM
rapper culture does not equal black. Rapper culture is just dumb, like redneck culture.


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