A photo in a Washington high school yearbook has generated controversy after many people accused the girl in the photo of blackface.
“It got posted all over Twitter and it sparked a huge, enormous argument,” said freshman student Andre Stepanov at Shorewood High School.
The picture, in which the girl is wearing a great deal of bronzer, came with the caption, “Do you think this is my color?” She has since come forward with several tweets explaining the picture, saying it was meant to make fun of a really bad tan from a tanning salon and was not meant to be racist.
“She was just snapchatting back and forth with her friend and put a whole bunch of Claire’s bronzer on,” said junior Trevor Corwin. “It wasn’t meant to be offensive.”
Still, many people are saying the picture was in bad taste and should not have been included in the yearbook at all.
“Just because it may not be offensive to you, it still may be offensive to other minority groups,” said Melen Ghebrai, a sophomore at Shorewood and member of the Black Student Union.
The school has stopped handing out yearbooks after the controversy erupted.
The backlash against the student has become widespread and some are alleging she’s been receiving hateful messages as a result. “There have been some pretty mean comments. Some people have actually been telling her to go kill herself,” junior Case Macklin said.
In addition to the girl’s apology, the school has also issued a statement saying that it was sorry yearbook supervisors didn’t catch the photo before it was included in the publication.
“It’s clearly hurtful,” said Craig Degginger of Shoreline Schools. “That image should not have been included in the Shorewood High School yearbook.”
In an attempt to diffuse tensions, administrators say they plan to replace the picture with a sticker of an alternative image in yearbooks that have not been distributed yet. Any students that received the original batch of books are invited to turn them in so a faculty member can apply the sticker for them.