White Students At St. Louis Area High School Wear Blackface During Football Game


blackface sullivan

Roughly 60 miles from Ferguson, Missouri, where racial tensions have been high in the wake of black teenager Michael Brown’s death, a dozen high school seniors, all white females, decided to wear blackface during a Powder-Puff football game earlier this month. The incident initially flew under the radar as the game was played on November 5th. While the school posted pictures of the games played that night on the school’s Twitter account, the pictures were intentionally taken from a distance so as not to show the girls up close.

However, due to pictures of the girls in blackface being posted to Facebook, the Riverfront Times, a St. Louis area newspaper, ran a story about the incident Wednesday. The RFT asked school principal Jennifer Schmidt her thoughts on the situation. Apparently, Schmidt knew it was probably a bad idea but thought the girls obviously didn’t mean any harm by the act.

Below is from the RFT article:

“And then I thought, ‘Oh, they don’t mean anything by it. Just let it go. No one thinks anything of it.’ I didn’t think anyone did,” says Schmidt, the principal of Sullivan High School. “Evidently, someone did.”

Evidently indeed. Photos taken during the game show twelve members of the senior class wearing dour expressions beneath full-blown blackface, and someone at the game shared those photos on Facebook. The reactions to the photos have been rippling within the small town of Sullivan (60 miles southwest of St. Louis) ever since.

You think somebody might take offense to these images, Ms. Schmidt?

blackface sullivan

blackface sullivan 2

Schmidt claims that there was nothing racial in the girls makeup choice for the game. She states that seniors, who face off against underclass girls in these games, have always worn face paint in order to mimic male football players’ use of eye black. Typically, they’ve centered their face paint on the school’s colors — black and gold. Apparently, per Schmidt, none of the girls brought any gold makeup or paint and they only had black. Therefore, they just overdid it and painted their whole faces black in order to “intimidate the underclassmen.” Schmidt also said that the school will probably ban face paint moving forward and the girls will not be disciplined.

Seriously? This is the excuse she’s trying to dish out on behalf of these girls? Personally, I find that a bit far-fetched. Sure, maybe the students are lacking a certain amount of historical context regarding blackface and why it is inherently racist. However, considering the amount of racial unrest and tension happening within semi-close proximity of Sullivan (a nearly all-white community), it is hard to believe that this was all just a post-racial mixup.

ETA: It appears the Sullivan Eagles Twitter account deleted the tweets with pictures from the football game after this article was published.

72 Responses to "White Students At St. Louis Area High School Wear Blackface During Football Game"

  1. Sue   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    WTF? “It’s probably a bad idea, but let’s do it anyway” . . . geez!

  2. Phillip Smith   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    The Leaders of the Teams failed those students, the school failed those students and their family’s failed those students. Empathy for someone’s plight is a Human Quality. This disgraceful Teaching Moment has passed.

  3. Dianne Batis   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.

  4. Janet Campeas   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    very bad taste! Inflaming a situation that has escalated very far without these students making fun of a social crisis.

  5. Janet Rapoza   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I cant believe that school leaders allowed this action to take p place. You all need to be educated on why people dont appear in public in “blackface.” It is blanant racism.

  6. timothy riley   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Proof stupidity is the “go-to” word in America

  7. Polly Grace-Molony   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    WTF? Do these people, students as well as administrators,live under a rock? Do they watch the News? Do they use their Twitter Accounts? Do they have Smart Phones? Obviously, none of the above. Their lack of dignity, empathy, cultural awareness, EVERYTHING is appalling. And the Principal? Give me a break! Where was the Adult in this? None of the above. Disgusting display of ignorance.

    • Dave   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 2:42 am

      sure they have smart phones and know what’s going on.. It’s called lying… another wonderful lesson they are teaching their kids to go along with being racist (black face) and bullies (intimidating the underclassmen)…. sounds like a wonderful place to raise a kid.

  8. javadanny   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Their parents should be dry-scrubbing their smug little faces with dry pumice soap bars.

  9. Rick   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Perhaps they were showing solidarity with the black students in Ferguson, and the idea of taking away their freedom of espression becomes inexcusable. Try to think outside of the boxes, people.

    • Paul   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Really?! One can think outside the box all day and still not think it was a show of support.

    • LadyeCatte   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      “Perhaps they were showing solidarity with the black students in Ferguson…”
      Really? Since when is blackface considered a form of ‘solidarity’? Even the white Michael Brown supporters would not be so crass.
      And, if that ANY ring of truth to it, Schmidt would have said as much, don’t you think?

      No, it was a stunt by an all-white team of Republicunts, intended to be offensive.

    • justb   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 7:18 am

      Support is a t shirt. This is ludicrous!

    • Gwynne Chesher   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      I’m sorry, Rick, but you are awfully naive. It’s Missouri and black face is racist, not supportive.

  10. Rick   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    ‘expression’

  11. steven persamanos   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    How come nobody asked any of the girls why they did it?

    • knight4444   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 6:03 am

      are you really that dense??

    • Flyingbrat   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 7:45 am

      i agree, I would be very interested in what the girls thoughts were behind their actions. They are seniors, our future… If they had no clue to the significance of their actions, then they each should write a research paper debating their choice against history. It is NEVERTHELESS to late for a teaching moment.

      I don’t think they meant harm, I believe that they and the staff are ignorant. I truly believe that part of history is either not being taught or so watered down that the significance is lost. I am a 52 year old black female that went to predominantly white schools and I promise you that if my parents didn’t teach me Black history, I would have no clue! Just something to think about.

      • Flyingbrat   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 7:46 am

        NEVER not NEVERTHELESS! Gotta love autocorrect!

  12. Nanette   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    If they didn’t know how offensive this action is…their coaches and teachers have amazingly failed in the education of these young people. If they did it knowingly, they are demonstrating amazingly thoughtless insensitivity towards others. Extra shame for not being aware of local news about the shocking situation in Ferguson, a nearby community.
    SMH

    • JD   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      Relax, Francis!

  13. john m rockwell   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    The students suspended
    the teachers fired
    the principal fired
    the superintendent fired
    the parents fined
    then maybe some one will realize that there are consequences to your actionsand insulting a entire group people because of skin color and to tjose on here who said this was thinking outside of the box support for the people in furgson are you kidding how stupid are you racism must end not one more act of hate should be tolerated.

    • Shelly   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 11:26 am

      I AGREE ON ALL COUNTS!

    • Aslan_Balaur   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Instead of “suspended” for those clueless iarheads, EXPELLED, and all current classes given an F.

  14. Tom Fetzner   Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I suggest all the blackface girls be made to watch the movie ’12 Years a Slave’. Maybe then they’ll realize how disgusting their actions were!

    These girls reflect the views of the school and their patents if no one thought this action was not disputable. The whole community has some soul searching to do!

  15. Elaine Leas   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 1:25 am

    This might have been acceptable in the 1029’s or 30’s…this is a direct result of trying to re-write history books..the girls have no clue how offensive this is. I wouldn’t suspend them, but I would definitely fire their coach and that principal…her lame-ass excuse is just so much BS..

  16. Dave   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 2:38 am

    Black face = bad idea… but what about clinging to the archaic bit about “intimidating the underclassmen.” … nothing like racist bullies.

  17. Helen Tarnation   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Stop the world…I wanna get off.

  18. santos   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 5:59 am

    IN the wake of the soon to be revelation in Ferguson, it is with deep regret that such a act can be displayed with such careless ease. Shame on you Principal Schmidt! Would it not have been better to have flown a flag depicting someone being lynched? Your morality; not to mention your position as a leader and influence on these girls has now allowed descent law abiding Americans,in your community to be characterized as racist! All this due to your actions or inactions! Is it a surprise that you thought nothing of it? Maybe not! The audacity to actually state that this act was in no manner meant to be racist,simply puts the icing on your cake of self-Racist Righteousness!

    • Mishel   Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 at 1:01 am

      well said! Unbelievable!!

  19. knight4444   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Anyone dumb enough NOT to know what those little BASTARDS were doing, needs professional help!! Anyone with ANY common sense or common historical knowledge, knows that WHITES using BLACK face is a reference to al jolson and the racist theater!! leave it to ignorant white republicans to jump on the internet and try to sugarcoat that $HIT!! BTW I guarantee you the majority of those girls will be chasing some black man for some ADULT FUN one day!

  20. tbone65   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Just goes to show you how ignorant the people in Missouri is. The administration and students should be repremended .

    • Lige   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 10:05 am

      *are

  21. Gary Gafford   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 7:25 am

    It’s the climate of the country…since we have a black president it’s ok to be racist …

  22. Don Davis   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I am ashamed of being white in America lately. The biggest racists, hate mongers, thieves, murderers, pedophiles, xenophobic, homophobic, heartless people in America today are middle and upper class whites. Yet our media points fingers at the poor, the unemployed, the under employed, the sick and infirmed, the elderly and the young, immigrants and foreigners, gays and the disabled, retired and injured veterans, college students, the homeless…..
    Where did the American Dream go?

  23. Whitkell   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 7:49 am

    This reflect how most white amercian feel about race today now that we have a Black PTOUS. So much in house conversation about ACA have inflamed race relations in this country. Kids knows what right and what wrong they understand. Missouri have some deep ugly history just like your Southern states south of the Mississippi River. Remember it was let happen could have been stop.

  24. Marvin Gilbert   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 7:58 am

    There was never any doubt and a whole lot of hope that it would “Go Viral!” People are insane with the hatred these days and these idiots knew exactly what is meant by it! Oh well, we’re just dumb white people we don’t intend on stirring up dumb shit! Yeah right! So, is the fucking PRINCIPLE!

  25. John Mason   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 8:16 am

    The prinicipal of the school was no prize about this, acting like it’s no big deal. You would think people learned from the Ferguson incident so close to them, but NOOOOO.

  26. Lorri Simmons   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Did anyone ask the girls what there motive was? Solidarity with the black community? Really? I think their motive was painfully obvious. The tension is so thick in Ferguson, MO just a few miles away, as well as nation wide. Since the historic nomination and election of President Obama, Race relations, in America have suffered greatly. The republicans have done a wonderful job in turning back the calendar about 50 years. They have sure made the President and the rest of us pay for his fluke election and re-election. The cavalier thoughts of the principal and other adult staff and parents is appalling and, should be dealt swiftly. I’m sure that won’t happen because, everyone is in agreement that there was no wrong done.
    I wonder little white girls, will you be wearing black face when you’re f****** those big black guys for fun?

  27. Michael Javert   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 8:58 am

    It’s face paint. Get over it. Not everything is racially motivated. You people that cry “racist” about everyone else are the biggest racist yourself. They were playing football, not mocking anyone, not being hateful to anyone, and certainly not doing anything racist. You people that have a problem with it really need to get a life. There are more important issues than facepaint. Like tattoos, piercings, violence, vandalism, malicious mischief. Make noise about that if you have to make noise about something. To make a mountain of this makes you a moron.

    • Kenyatta   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      You sound like an idiot, you have no opinion voicing your hate filled comment because it doesnt effect you or your white spawn.
      If you have no problem with it then you are the problem why America is failing when it comes to race relations.
      Why would a decent American feel that this behavior is OK because they are students?
      I think you may think it is OK for police to shoot innoncent young blacks because you know they are raised to be violent criminals right?
      Go find a short cliff with a endless bottom and just jump.

  28. Paino   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Did it occur to ANY of you that YOU are the racist ones? That YOU are the ones whose thoughts immediately went to something racist while the “war paint” was meant to be nothing more than war paint? We’re singling out a bunch of teenage girls because they happen to live in a city not that far from Ferguson? You’re actually accusing these girls of acting out stuff in history books?! I’m sure that is EXACTLY what they were thinking as they were manning themselves up for a powder puff game of football. Shit stirrers…nothing but a bunch of shit stirring adults.

    • Kenyatta   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      And you my friend are a complete idiot.
      just because it does not offend you does not mean that it does not offend others.
      Who cares that they did something that is considered a racist act.
      Get a gun and kill yourself.

  29. Ruth Cain   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Where in the world are these peoples heads? Everyone else seems to know “blackface” and bullying are inappropriate anywhere and anytme!

  30. Dena French   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Why is this still happening?

  31. Don Dietz   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 10:30 am

    this is Missouri people the Mississippi of middle Amerca they just aren’t smart enough to realize what is racist and what isn’t

  32. Jules   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Wow!!! I wish people would quit being so f*cken sensitive! You’re ignorant of you believe these girls were making a “racist” point!!! Believe it or not some people don’t wake up and think damn who can I offend today!? Not everything done in a ” all white” however it was worded school is about racism! The media and stupid as* people like you are making the racial divide far worse than it should be!!!! Get over it!!!!!!

    • Kenyatta   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      You get over yourself, that get over it is the phrase that you closet racist use when you get tired of your actions being brought into the light.
      It does not bother you when we are told to remember the Holocaust or 911 or the trail of tears but you are quick to tell us to get over the pain and suffering people just like you cause. BITCH!!!

      • CVP   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:16 pm

        You are one silly bitch

      • JIke's   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:24 pm

        bitch?!? Wow nice insult!! Sorry I don’t get my feelings hurt as easily as you! I personally believe they ones that this offends are racist! The ones that jump to the conclusion these children are “making a statement “need to realize the world don’t revolve around you! Suffering?? Do you refer to slavery? Because It directly effected you? Do you realize there was a time women had no rights? Times have clearly changed for everyone and I’m far from being racist! My issue is kids don’t get to be kids because it’s always hurting someone’s feelings! Yes I will say again GET OVER IT! If you believe blacks are the only ones that suffered over the last 50-100 years?! It shows your stupidity! I don’t want to have my children raised up always worried little shit like face paint, will offend someone! Grow the fuck up already!!!

    • CVP   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      I AGREE WITH YOU JULES…. We live in a world thats full of sensitive people… I never owned a slave or would I want too.. So for all you lazyass racist black folks get over it we dont owe u shit

  33. Jan   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    As soon as they appeared at the game, why didn’t an intelligent thinking adult immediately send them to wash their faces in the locker room? Yet those girls participated in the game and posed for pictures as if proud of the stunt. Pretty stupid behavior by them and everyone involved at the school.

  34. TerryinElPaso   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    As my Gram use to say, “$hit for brains, that’s all you got!”

  35. dmh   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    The term “historical context” explains it all regardless what the intentions truly were.

  36. Brenna Dawkins   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Jules, you’re pretty frigging ignorant to think this was a harmless stunt preformed right as the trials for the incident are underway! Typical of racists to pretend it’s all fun and games.

    • CVP   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      But its ok to have BET , NAACP, AN THE PUSSY ASS BLACK PANTHERS … NO WOUNDER YOU FUCKERS ALL END UP NO GOOD HOOD RATS

    • Jules   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      If your are that easily offended and believe this was a racist statement, that shows how ignorant you are and clearly racist! Like I said not everything is about race, racial statements, or being racist! It seems the ones who want To make a big deal out of everthing are the racist ones! I don’t think my children should have to worry if face paint offends someone else! It’s face paint! As far as the trials? That will not consume my life and several people feel the same. I still have to live for God and show my children there is still good in the world. What we see as far as ferguson on the news is not good! My children know rioting, stealing, burning down buisnesses and shooting innocent people was an ignorant answer to the incident that occurred. I’m not going to live worrying if it offenses someone! Believe me if I was that sensitive, I would be offended on the daily!

  37. terry   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    i’m going to give the girls the benefit of the doubt. maybe it happened the way they said….but the adults/school administrators should have been the adults/school administrators and told them to wipe that crap off their face. black smears under their eyes is one thing….painting their entire face is quite another.

  38. MJR   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Historical context is everything if the girls didn’t know I am certain the principal knew what blackface was about. She should have stood up and said no girls we cannot do this and give them the history but instead she went along with this racist act.

  39. Okaynowwhat   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    The reason it’s not being sensitive to call out such a gesture is because of the obvious situations occurring close to their home.

    In addition, being that indentifiable photos of neighboring Ku Klux Klan members have been outed in the last week, their actions are proof of them being ignorant to their surroundings.

    If one were truly concerned about the well being of these girls they should be made aware that they could even be putting themselves into harm’s way through such ignorance.

    There is no reason to defend “sad-face” bafoonery amongst the ‘control’ class. Such posturing is demonstrative much like any subversive, monkey minded mockery of an enemy.

    Care to educate the sensitive? Uplift someone whose situation is worse than your own.

  40. Laura Garber   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    this just plain ignorance. This practice has been considered a racist practice for decades. So if the principle and students don’t know that they need to read history books as do some of you who don’t feel this is racist. Why is it some people understand things like this are wrong when they are 7 or 8 years old and others haven’t a clue to how actions like not only offend others but make them look like absolute idiots with no empathy or compassion for anyone else.

  41. Aslan_Balaur   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    If I had a say in that school district, I’d be pushing for every single one of those racist animals to be expelled, and a failing grade for every class they are currently enrolled in. This sort of crap is so idiotic.

  42. Drew   Thursday, November 20th, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    this wasn’t to be racist. They do it every year. It’s their school colors. People are so sensitive these days they can’t even allow high school girls have fun at their powder puff game.

  43. Tracey ma.   Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Drew, are you fu$king serious?? Wth do you call fun? You are just as clueless as the rest of them, or you truly just don’t give a fu$k! Be for real!! One day shit is gonna be reversed, and what goes around is going to come back around! All the people that have this hate in their heart for another human being because of skin color will feel it deep! And to their core they will be shook just as the people that are being treated unjustly at present are. God Bless us all, and you people better be afraid to close your eyes ’cause Karma is a bit$h!

  44. knight4444   Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 8:45 am

    @drew, @cvp, @jikes I see the you’re either a ignorant KLANSMAN or just a ignorant POS, either way, you’re vile and disgusting, go wash your hoods and get some professional counceling.

  45. seriously   Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 9:21 am

    This is bullshit, a few girls paint their face black to play football and all u ppl scream racism. Get over it, if it was black girls painting tgeir face white no one would say a word. I believe its a violation of these young women rights, and they are being exploited by the true bigots of the world, leave them alone and worry about your own miserable lives

  46. karen meske   Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I can’t believe there are so many people that don’t understand the history of “blackface”.All of u people that are saying,”get over it”,”stop being so sensitive”-YOU DON’T GET IT !!!! You probably never will.Those girls are in pure blackface,not school colors.And to people WHO DO GET IT,I don’t think the people making excuses,no big deal,blah,blah,blah,WANT to get it.They are racists,they may not think they are,but we know the truth. I am a white woman,and the comments I overhear [white racists think ALL white people feel the way they do,so they speak freely when they don’t see any faces of color around them ]have me convinced racism is alive and well.If you are not part of the solution,you are part of the problem.CVP,YOU ARE A VILE CREATURE.Unfortunately,too many people think the same way.

  47. Thomas Serynek   Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Knight4444, you and your name calling and sexual innuendos are the racist here.

  48. Brian   Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    The Human Race has progressed over the past 2000 years … hasn’t it? … or has it?

  49. Gus   Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    People should google BLACKFACE so they know what it looks like before they freak out about nothing.

  50. John malcom   Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Okay so the next time a black person photoshops their face to be lighter color or wears makeup (which is every day) to look lighter, they are going to be hated on by white people. Stop trying to look white if you’re so black and opposed to other races lookin like you. Get over yourselves . You’re not slaves anymore. Grow up and move on .

  51. Equinoqs   Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 at 2:04 am

    They (and a number of these commenters) are either racist, or too stupid to even be in school.