LOS GATOS, Calif. — A promposal at Los Gatos High School in California has prompted accusations of racism.
The high school’s newspaper got a tip that a student dressed in blackface to ask his date to prom, thinking that would impress his would-be date. He says he was just trying to look like a Bitmoji.
The senior at the center of the controversial ask requested not to be identified. He says his ask was taken out of context. The unidentified student says that “there was no intention of racism.”
“I did not mean for people to take it this way. I did not mean this in a racist way whatsoever. I’m very sorry if you feel offended,” he told KGO-TV.
According to him, it all began with a Snap-chatted Bitmoji ask.
“He has black skin and he has a blue mo-hawk, blue eyebrows and a blue goatee,” he said.
When his prospective date wasn’t impressed, he had another idea: “I dressed exactly like the Bitmoji and then asked her.”
This included painting his face black with blue hair, eyebrows and a goatee.
The high school’s newspaper editor Danika Lyle, who is half African-American, says even with the Bitmoji context, she is still offended.
“What you’re saying when you make a Bitmoji for the purpose of being funny, and then make it black, which the student is not, you’re saying something about that skin-tone about it being funny,” she said.
The event prompted her to pen an op-ed on racism in schools and the lack of attention that the media sheds on these issues.
At Los Gatos High School and others, gone are the days of simply asking a prospective date to prom. “The ask” is as monumental as the prom itself.
And this is not the first time the school is encountering a promposal gone wrong. The online version of the paper also covered another controversial junior prom ask.
“It was sick. It said along the lines of ‘do you want to be my N-word and hang with me at prom?’ And then it detailed a black person hanging from a tree,” Lyle said.
But she is still hopeful about the future, since Los Gatos High School is now taking steps to educate students “on racism and modern-day nuanced racism” ahead of next year’s prom season.