Last Friday, Waverly High School in New York state hosted a pep rally for their sports teams—fanfare, mascots, jocks, cheerleaders—all good, clean, American fun. Then, because it makes total sense to do this in this context of an official high school jamboree, three white kids in blackface took center stage and performed a skit depicting that time Chris Brown savagely beat Rihanna to within an inch of her life and tried to throw her out of a moving car. Good, clean, American fun.
Obviously people on the internet are pissed off about it, so I tracked down a guy who goes to the school, is friends with the people in the skit, and just wants all this nasty stuff about his racist pals to go away. Here's what he said.
VICE: So, what went down at this pep rally, exactly?
Student: A kid dressed as Chris Brown acted like he hit a girl with an umbrella, but he didn’t actually hit her. Then someone dressed as a cop tackled him, handcuffed him, and it was over.
Were you involved?
All I’m really going to say is that I know the people who did the skit. They’re my best friends and they are in no way racist. The thing everyone's calling blackface was horrible back in the day when racism was huge, but there are so many actors and actresses dressing up as every ethnicity nowadays. It’s not the 1920s anymore, it’s 2012.
Right, it's not. But surely it's still offensive?
The people who did the skit were just playing a character—it’s the same thing as what the actors did in White Chicks. It wasn’t a big deal and I know a lot of other people feel the same way as I do about how it wasn’t racist. We aren’t taught that blackface is wrong at school because it’s a different age now. It’s not showing disrespect to anyone, it's just playing a character.
What about the combination of that with domestic violence?
Yeah, a lot of people are going to agree that was wrong, but he also got arrested at the end of the skit, so they’re still showing that domestic violence is bad.
It's like a horrible PSA.
None of them thought it was veering anywhere near the racist side of things. You would have gotten the skit better if you were there. It was funny because they dressed a guy as a girl and he had to walk out in heels and a dress. They weren’t trying to portray anything about domestic violence, they just thought it’d be funny for the one kid to come out as a girl. The whole thing has been blown completely out of proportion.
What does blackface and domestic violence have to do with a guy cross-dressing?
Look, they were just doing a skit on something real that happened. It wasn’t meant to be taken literally at all. I’m just sick of this whole thing and want it to be over.
So there you go—it's 2012 now, guys, racism doesn't exist. Just because a bunch of white school kids mock beat each other up in blackface and the fact that hate groups are still very much thriving in certain areas of the world, doesn't mean anyone's actually racist. It's totally beyond me why everyone's getting so butthurt.