Two students at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater were publicly, officially branded as “racist” in a campus-wide post because the school’s chancellor mistook their exfoliation masks for blackface.
The controversy all started when the students posted a Snapchat photo of themselves wearing face masks in the dorms. Seeing as skincare is widely accepted as an uncontroversial activity, they probably thought nothing of it — but Chancellor Beverly Kopper rushed to interpret it as blackface and immediately posted a statement condemning them as racist on the school’s official website.
”Last night a disturbing racist post that was made to social media was brought to my attention,” Kopper wrote in a statement on the school’s official website last week.
“This post was hurtful and destructive to our campus community,” Kopper’s post continued. While social media can certainly bring about positive change, it can also be a place that deeply hurts and harms others.”
The students — likely very shocked to find that they had been declared “racist” for an attempt at self-care — immediately explained that they weren’t trying to hate, just to exfoliate, which has prompted widespread backlash against Kopper.
State senator Stephen Nass (R., Whitewater) even released a statement criticizing Kopper, explaining that “the [chancellor’s] official statement misled students, parents, and the public by confirming that a racist event had occurred, even though it really hadn’t.”