Duluth roiled by two recent blackface incidents [VIDEO]

Categories: Duluth, Racism
duluth blackface rect.jpg
YouTube screengrab (left); Facebook image via Duluth News Tribune (right)
At left, two blackfaced Duluth women during their racist YouTube rant; at right, Pizza Luce employee Adam Stoningpot wears blackface at an employee party.
In recent weeks, video of two young Duluth women wearing blackface and uttering absurdly offensive racial slurs went viral (the footage can be seen below the jump).

Just a week later, a photo of a Pizza Luce employee wearing blackfare at a Halloween party has surfaced.

SEE ALSO: 11 white supremacists turn out in Duluth, get pelted with snowballs

It's been a surprisingly racially charged year in Duluth, as news of the two most recent incidents come on the heels of an Obama doll being hung from a billboard on election day and controversy about the city's "It's hard to see racism when you're white" billboard campaign.

Here's some context about blackface and its racial implications from Wikipedia:
Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used in minstrel shows, and later vaudeville, in which performers create a stereotyped caricature of a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the proliferation of stereotypes such as the "happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation" or the "dandified coon"... Early in the 20th century, blackface branched off from the minstrel show and became a form in its own right, until it ended in the United States with the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
The original version of the Duluth blackface video has been removed from YouTube, but it has been reposted a number of times. It was actually filmed a year ago but only recently went viral. In it, two women -- Rachel Cooper, a current UMD student, and Jessica Heid, a former student -- say things like, "I got the big 'ol lips... we are true negros, man" and "I need some fried fuckin' chicken... We kinda look like apes right now." Here's the footage:



Cooper has since reached out to the local chapter of the NAACP and expressed regret about the video. She's even inquired about how she can help the group, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Days after the video went viral, Adam Stoningpot, an overnight cleaner at Pizza Luce, showed up at an employee costume at the Technology Village bar and restaurant wearing blackface. His intention was to provoke a discussion about race, according to the Tribune.

Stoningpot's costume offended a number of co-workers and patrons and prompted some to leave. He was later disciplined by Luce for the incident but not fired.

A group of community activists wrote to Pizza Luce's Twin Cities-based management demanding an explanation and asking about what the restaurant will do to make sure nothing like the Stoningpot incident happens again.

The Tribune provides information about how JJ Haywood, CEO of Luce, responded:
Haywood, who is African American, said she intends to meet with [the activists] by the end of the week.

"Let me assure you that this incident was taken seriously by management at both Pizza Luce Duluth and by me as the top leader and one of the owners of Pizza Luce," Haywood e-mailed Banks.

"As an African-American woman, I absolutely agree that it is shocking and unacceptable for someone to don blackface in this day and age."
Duluth is 90 percent white and just two percent African-American, so the string of racial controversies the city has experienced this year is somewhat surprising. Then again, the city was the site of one of the ugliest incidents of racism in Minnesota history. In 1920, rumors that a group of African American circus workers had raped a teenage girl prompted a mob to lynch three of them. A subsequent examination of the girl found no evidence of sexual assault.


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8 comments
senatortombstone
senatortombstone

During the past few years there have been hundreds of flashmob attacks, which are essentially micro-riots in which violent groups of blacks brutally assault random, helpless white people. As far as I know, there is no law against wearing blackface, but there are laws against assault. Even though these blackfacers broke no law, they are being subject to potential termination, expulsion from college, and public humiliation and scorn. Yet, when mobs of blacks assault innocent whites, they are anonymously referred to as youths, and the story gets buried. Sometimes the police do not even file a report, for fear of being accused of being racist. Blackface is a non-issue, but if it bothers people so much, then perhaps they should encourage blacks to reform their people so that they'll have less mock-worthy traits.

walkingbonghit
walkingbonghit

anyone here ride tha bus?it isnt sterotyping if its true!!funniest shit ive seen in awhile!!!;D   

Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

How hard is it to understand that something like this demeans people? There is nothing about this that is ok, or kind of funny.

This does one thing and one thing only - it mocks a segment of our society.

I hope this guy gets fired, or if he does not, that the business is boycotted for such derogatory behavior.  There is no excuse for it, and it is hard to imagine an adequate apology.

Kyle J. Holman
Kyle J. Holman

Blackface is a very derogatory expression. I don't think kids learn about it anymore in high school, which really just makes these kids ignorant. Not saying the girls actions weren't racist. It sounds like the guy was trying to be informative with his display, but I doubt he truly understood how his actions could be misinterpreted. Also we as white people have to give other races a bit of wiggle room when the make fun of us. We weren't persecuted for 400 plus years.

Shane J. Pinske
Shane J. Pinske

If was racist in talk yes but if not no. Anyone remember the movie white girls which is as bad.

ChrisAntoncich
ChrisAntoncich

@panopticon13 I hate to say it, but probably never since it still happens. People are inherently stupid...

marevitals
marevitals

Pizza Luce is World Reknown for Hiring Closet Racists!!!!

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