A white, blond-haired Kansas State University student has been expelled from school after Snapchatting a photo of herself and a friend wearing black clay face masks with the caption “Feels good to finally be a nigga.”
The young woman, Paige Shoemaker, posted the image to her Snapchat story, meaning it could be seen by any of her followers, on Tuesday night. But the trouble started when a fellow student, Desmund Weathers, posted the image to Twitter, where it swiftly went viral — prompting public outcry, a formal response from the university, and a Facebook apology by Shoemaker on behalf of herself and her friend, Sadie Meier.
“We clearly understand that what was said and done was completely disrespectful,” she wrote, in part, in her Thursday post, since shared more than 1,300 times. “I did want to inform everyone that it was NOT ‘black face,’ but it was a L’Oréal clay facial mask. The signs that were thrown also is an inside joke between our friends that represents ‘West Coast is the best coast.’ We never intended for the picture to offend anyone.”
Shoemaker added, “We accept that there will be people who won’t forgive us, but something had to be said. Ask anyone who knows us, we are the most accepting and least racist people. We know that we will ride up and learn from this mistake. We will be better. … We know what we did was wrong.”
Kansas State University interim associate provost for diversity Zelia Wiley addressed the situation with a post to the school’s website on Thursday. “On Sept. 15, the university received notice that a derogatory social message and photo was sent out via social media. The involved person is not currently enrolled at the university. It is our understanding the second individual in the photo is not associated with the university,” Wiley began. “This racially offensive photo with a derogatory message has upset the K-State family and is not in concert with our principles of community. Such messages on social media are harmful to all.”
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