Following the viral spread of a racist video showing students dressed in blackface, protesters gathered outside St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls in Holmesburg, Philadelphia, on Wednesday morning.
Several white teenage girls are seen in the video making racist jokes and uncontrollably laughing as they mock Black History Month. One spray-painted the other’s face with a dark color while shouting, “Know your roots!” “It’s February!” and “You’re nothing but a slave!”
Recently, some students at St.Hubert Catholic High School for girls recorded this video of one student forcefully spray painting the face of another student Black while yelling “you’re Black. It’s Black history month.” This is very obviously both Blackface & bullying. pic.twitter.com/xmF8yOzd5J
— Whitney Alese (@TheReclaimed) February 8, 2023
The black-faced girl then proudly announces, “I am Black, and I am proud!” The other girls in the room keep laughing as the clip progresses. The video has caused alarm and concern among the parents of the school’s students.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is investigating the source of the video and believes students at St. Hubert School posted it. However, demonstrators outside St. Hubert’s argued the footage represented the entire scene. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, two of the present parents reported that when their children attended the school, they were met with hostility and unwelcomeness on account of their race.
When his daughter enrolled in the institution as a first-year student, Lamar Martin, a Black man, volunteered to become the track coach. Martin claimed that racial tensions were present while working there, and he thinks the school not renewing his contract over the summer resulted from that tension. In November, his daughter requested to withdraw from the school.
“She felt as though there was other racist issues in the school and every time she tried to voice her opinion — like she actually went to the president, went to the principal — they did absolutely nothing about it,” Martin elaborated on some of the issues his daughter faced.
Adam McNeil, the protest’s organizer, couldn’t believe he was still encountering overt displays of racism and ignorance in 2023.
“I just thought when I saw the video that it was complete ignorance,” McNeil told CBS. “I watched and I was completely confused that we still have so much blatant racism in 2023. And then to know that the students not only made this video in mockery of Black people in Black History Month but they took the time to send it to their fellow students, which to me was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“We have to stand together as a community to show that racism is not acceptable in any place,” he added. “Whether it’s in school, whether it’s in work. But to know that our children are displaying this racism only has me question, who are their parents? What do their parents teach them, what is the resolution going to be behind this tragedy?”
The students should be charged with a hate crime, according to McNeil.
The St. Hubert leaders acknowledged the video in a Facebook post on Wednesday and mentioned that they were looking into it.
“Earlier today it came to our attention that a handful of students posted images and videos on a social media platform of a racially charged nature,” Lizanne Pando, the school’s president, and Gina MacKenzie, the principal, wrote in the posted statement.
The protesters thought the statements were insufficient and demanded that the Archdiocese take additional action to address more serious issues at the school. Former St. Hubert student’s parents advised other Black parents to remove their children from the school until more is done to address the climate that Black students experience.