Minnesota school scandal: RACIST prom proposal by White teens on Black people 'picking cotton' sparks outrage
The same 'promposal' also went viral in 2018 when a Florida high school senior posted a photo with it on social media
A shockingly racist prom proposal flaunted by two students at Big Lake High School in Minnesota has sparked massive outrage, forcing the school district to shut down temporarily and switch to remote learning. The uproar was triggered by a Facebook photo of the two students, a boy and a girl, holding a placard that read, "If I was Black I'd be picking cotton, but I'm White so I'm picking you. Prom?"
As soon as the photo was spotted on social media, it went viral in no time creating anger and fear among Black and biracial students at the high school and their families. “If those kids are going to be allowed at prom, then it’s not going to be a welcome place for everyone,” high school senior Janaya Dimkpa told CBS Local.
The school authorities soon issued a statement condemning the incident and assuring that they were 'seriously' addressing the actions of the students involved. While the names of the students were leaked online, the state and federal data privacy laws have prohibited the school from disclosing such sensitive details. Meanwhile, the father of the boy in the photo confirmed that the family had been receiving a lot of threats.
The 'promposal' is not new
Incidentally, this is not the first time the problematic proposal has been used to ask someone out for prom. The 'promposal' had been used multiple times by high school students in different states, sparking debates around racism and discrimination.
In 2018, Noah Crawley, a senior from Florida's Riverview High School posted a picture of himself on social media holding the same 'promposal'. At that time also, his act was condemned by the school authorities and created a major controversy. As reported by CNN, the student was then prohibited from attending prom, graduation, and other school activities for the rest of the year.
The same 'promposal' was rehashed by the Minnesota high school students at a time when Minnesota has been rattled by the brutal custodial deaths of George Floyd in 2020 and Daunte Wright in 2021. The reaction to the sign was expectedly more intense at this juncture when Black Lives Matter protests are going on across the country. The outrage prompted the entire Big Lake School District to shut down for two days, while all K-12 students have been moved to distance learning.
"What we can tell you is that Big Lake Schools recognize that events of this nature can be traumatic to our students, staff and community. We, as a school, need to immediately and comprehensively respond to those concerns with understanding and support," read the statement issued by the school. It also stated that the school does not condone "racism, intolerance or discrimination in any form." The statement now pops up on opening the school website.
The school also resolved to reach out to civil rights leaders and professionals to help guide students better in the future. "We have had numerous conversations with local law enforcement and are working quickly to resolve this issue. Student safety is our top priority at all times," the statement added.
'Another example that Racism doesn't exist in America'
As the photo surfaced on Twitter, an angry user tweeted, "A high school student in Minnesota was not only racist with his promposal, but uninspired after tapping an approach that has been done at least twice before. The image of two students holding a sign “If I was Black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking you. Prom?”
"Are so many of today's teenagers just not being educated adequately in American history by their schools, or are they just this plain-old flat-out stupid?" added a second user. Another user sarcastically quipped, "Another example that Racism doesn't exist in America."
A high school student in Minnesota was not only racist with his promposal, but uninspired after tapping an approach that has been done at least twice before. The image of two students holding a sign “If I was Black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking you. Prom?” pic.twitter.com/aRWcLirHG3— HJ (Hank) Ellison (@hjtherealj) April 29, 2021
Are so many of today's teenagers just not being educated adequately in American history by their schools, or are they just this plain-old flat-out stupid? https://t.co/eOY5TfWc70— Tom Q Public (@PublicTom) April 29, 2021
Another example that Racism doesn't exist in America 😡— Anthony Ramey (@anthonyramey5) April 30, 2021
Minnesota Teen Slammed For Proposing To Prom Date With Racist 'Cotton Picking' Signhttps://t.co/NpVI9uniSt
Meanwhile, according to Star Tribune, teenagers in Minnesota have been urged to stay careful and get vaccinated from Covid-19, ahead of the prom season. Minnesota State health officials relayed the warning after pictures of maskless teenagers at a high school prom went viral.