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Video of Covington Catholic students seemingly in black face sparks controversy

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An old YouTube video resurfaced over the weekend showing Covington Catholic High School students wearing black paint at a basketball game has sparked controversy among social media users condemning the paint as blackface.

Multiple outlets reported on the newly found “Colonel Crazies Compilation Video” that depicted several students in the crowd at basketball games wearing black paint on their faces and bodies.

The New York Daily News notably said in the story’s headline that the students were wearing “blackface,” but several other publications noted the students were wearing blue or white paint in other clips in the compilation.

The Daily Mail also referred to the students as wearing “BLACKFACE” and taunting African American players during games.

In the video, shots of the game’s crowd show several students’ faces, chests and arms fully covered in black paint, following along with school chants and motions.

The video, which was reportedly uploaded by the school in 2012 before being removed sometime over the weekend, also shows students covered in other paint colors, including blue and white, to match the students around them at events listed as “Braveheart March” and “White Out.”

One tweet that took issue with the student posted a link to the compilation video alongside a picture from a game where all students in frame are dressed in black, and four covered in black paint, which the user called “blackface.”

The front few rows of students pictured are also gathered around a player from the opposing team who appears to be African-American, who the tweet says was among those “verbally abused.”

The video also calls to mind student sections that cheer along collegiate basketball teams, including Duke University’s “Cameron Crazies,” Texas A&M’s “12th Man,” and two Florida State University student fans who won attention in 2014 for covering themselves in head-to-toe glitter paint in the team’s colors.

Despite the connection to the team’s tradition and sports history, the images do also aesthetically resemble historic characterizations of black people in racist blackface productions put on by white people.

Twitter users who claimed to be Covington Catholic alumni took to social media to hit back at the assumptions of the paint as a racial offensive, pointing out the paint was common at games and followed a color theme.

Another purported alumnus said the Covington Catholic cheering section displayed the same behavior and dress depicted in the videos and pictures that were being shared on social media against all teams, “no matter the race or ethnicity.”

The school has come into the spotlight since a video of a group of its students were recorded in a confrontation with a Native American protester in Washington, DC on Friday.

The video caught fire on social media as many condemned it as a racially charged incident, though extended video footage and a statement from the student at the center of the confrontation have added new context to the incident.

Nick Sandmann said in a statement released Sunday that he and his fellow Covington Catholic students, who were in DC for the annual anti-abortion rally March for Life, were first targeted by a group of Black Hebrew Israelites, who launched angry slurs at the students.

The Native American protester, Nathan Phillips, said in a later interview that he inserted himself in “a dangerous situation” in an attempt to diffuse tensions among the groups. Students quickly gathered around him as he beat his drum and sang in what many on social media cast as mocking upon the video’s original circulation.

Read more:

The school at the center of the controversy surrounding the viral video of a confrontation between students and a Native American protester closed Tuesday over safety concerns and threats

Video shows teenagers in ‘MAGA’ hats in a confrontation with Native American protesters at Indigenous Peoples March

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