10.30.2013, 14:58 PM
Calif. coaches’ ‘Cool Runnings’ blackface costumes outrage civil rights groups
The coaches, standing on either side of the person in orange, are good role models, said one black student, who has played for them for four years.
Two California high school football coaches wore blackface for their "Cool Runnings" Halloween costumes to a game last weekend. Now they're in hot water with civil rights advocates.
NAACP's San Diego branch is calling for Serra High School to fire varsity head coach Brian Basteyns and assistant coach Harold Seeley for their Jamaican bobsled team outfits.
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"In the 21st Century, where our country is more diverse as ever, African Americans and people of color ask why we have to address these issues repeatedly," branch President Lei-Chala Wilson said in a release.
The Anti-Defamation League's local office also blasted the getups as offensive and insensitive to African-Americans.
The regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego said the coaches showed ‘a disregard for the racial history of our country and for the role that blackface played in furthering racist images and attitudes.’
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"We feel that blackface is never appropriate," Tammy Gillies, director of the ADL San Diego, told the Daily News on Wednesday. "Their decision to do that shows a disregard for the racial history of our country and for the role that blackface played in furthering racist images and attitudes."
The ADL asks the school district to investigate and send a message that "this type of insensitivity won't be tolerated."
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But not everyone feels the same way, including several African-Americans on the team.
Serra High Football/via Facebook
The coaches work for Serra High School in San Diego.
Fellow coach Al Dave, who works closely with Basteyns and Seeley, told KXTV that if there were a "sliver of racism," he would have reported them himself.
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Student Xavier Miller, who has played for the coaches for four years, told the station that he wasn't insulted and even laughed when he saw the photo of them dressed as characters from the Walt Disney movie.
"They always tell us good morals," Miller said. "We always have to represent Serra football when we're outside of Serra."
Basteyns reportedly met with his team on Tuesday to deliver what players considered a heartfelt and emotional apology.
"He was really upset that these allegations were happening, and he felt as if he really did something wrong and he really wanted to express to us his apologies," team captain Richard Price told the ABC affiliate.
Serra High School told The News it could not comment on this "personal matter." Neither coach could be reached for comment.http://m.nydailynews.com/news/national/coaches-cool-runnings-blackface-outrages-civil-rights-groups-article-11735
Edited by GG - Oct 30 2013 at 3:27pm