North America

US student defends blackface as showing 'school spirit'

0:00

A Covington Catholic High School student has defended his school's history of blackface.

A student from Covington Catholic High School in the US has defended the use of blackface at a sporting event.

The same private school in Kentucky apologised last week after a number of its students were accused of mocking a Native American at a Washington DC rally.

In an interview with Fox and Friends on Wednesday, host Steve Doocy asked the students about a video which emerged showing students - from about seven years ago - wearing blackface at a basketball game.

"There was a pep rally where one of the members of the school body appeared to have blackface on. People have even asked you to explain that. How do you explain that?" Mr Doocy asked.

One of the students, Sam Schroder, defended the use of blackface at the game as a way of "showing school spirit."

"I just explain it as showing school spirit. We have many themes. Like nerd, business, whiteout, blue out, blackout — as you've seen in the video," he said.

"Ever since I've gone to CovCath, we haven't been able to wear black paint because of the video, but I know the kids meant nothing by it, it's just showing school spirit."

The comments come as the Kentucky school has been at the centre of a national controversy involving its students accused of mocking a Native American protester last week.

The videos caused uproar in the US after it appeared teenagers wearing pro-Donald Trump hats were mocking a Native American at a rally in Washington DC.

0:00

Nick Sandmann - one of the students in the video - claimed he did nothing to provoke the Native American and was only trying to calm the situation down.

In an interview following the incident, Mr Sandmann said he was "not disrespectful to Mr Phillips" but wished he had walked away.

"As far as standing there, I had every right to do so... my position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr Phillips. I respect him. I'd like to talk to him," he told American television network, NBC.

"I mean, in hindsight I wish we could have walked away and avoided the whole thing. But I can't say that I'm sorry for listening to him and standing there."

US President Donald Trump hit out at "fake news" and sided with the students of the Kentucky high school on Wednesday.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch