Megan Luloff—the White Iowa teacher who riled the internet by wearing Blackface for a Halloween costume—finally came forward with an apology.
After being slammed for smearing black makeup on her face, arms and exposed skin to appear as LaFawnduh from Napoleon Dynamite, the 32-year-old Walcott Elementary School teacher claimed she had no idea what Blackface was and of its representation in American history.
District officials launched an investigation on October 22 after the photo of Luloff circulated on social media.
Now, Luloff says she never meant to offend people. She also claimed she knows what it is like being picked on—because her child is an albino.
My latest … Blackface teacher’s defense: I didn’t know what it was, and my kid’s an albino! https://t.co/hD5ueHoNGq
— Joshua Rhett Miller (@joshuarhett) October 31, 2018
Luloff’s attorney released a statement on Wednesday, saying the teacher never intended “to mock the character’s ethnicity” and she “never heard the term ‘Blackface’.”
“At no point during her preparation for the party, or her participation at the event, did Megan ever intend to mock the character’s ethnicity or take any action intended to be offensive to anyone.”
“At this point in time Megan had never heard the term ‘Blackface’ nor did she know the history of the term. If she had that knowledge she never would have participated in such a way that she deeply regrets her actions.”
Will it save her from getting fired? Walcott Elementary teacher blackface apology: I didn’t know any better plus my daughter is albino https://t.co/VA5KQKYnnn #Megan Luloff #Walcott Elementary school teacher #blackface #Halloween #Megyn Kelly #Megyn Kelly blackface
— Scallywagandvagabond (@ScallywagNYC) October 31, 2018
According to the NY Post, the statement mentioned Luloff is familiar with being teased as the mother of a child with albinism—a condition caused by lack of pigmentation.
“She knows how hurtful and damaging it can be when you think someone is mocking your appearance.”
“Throughout history, people affected by albinism have been humiliated, mocked, sent away from their families, worst of all beaten and thought of ‘witchcraft.’”
The statement from the Cartee Law Firm in Davenport, Iowa, commented on the media backlash as a result of the circulated photo of Luloff as LaFawnduh.
“This was the first time Megan had ever been presented with the notion that she had done anything opprobrious.”
“At that time, she declined comment on the picture… Megan, along with many of her friends and family, were completely unaware of what Blackface was historically or that such a term even existed.”
People still thought Luloff should know better.
Even though it's been established, Blackface is off-limits to white people. Megan Luloff thought she was above that. Now, she'll have to fight for her job. https://t.co/EZ6a1PN5m6
— Negra With Tumbao (@KAraujoNWT) October 28, 2018
Black face has never been okay, contrary to what #TheOtherMegyn might have you believe. ????????
— iowamom2_1 (@iowamom2_1) October 26, 2018
People were so upset over the photo, many asked for the firing of Luloff from Walcott Elementary. But as of Wednesday’s statement release, she remains employed by the Davenport Community School District.
However Aaron Bos-Wahl, another school teacher from Iowa, is not having it.
“The fact that Ms. Luloff wore this racist costume is deeply disturbing,” Bos-Wahl wrote in a Facebook post.
Bos-Wahl faulted the school district for inadequate measures regarding cultural awareness.
“But what I find more troubling is the apparent absence of any form of district-mandated training for white teachers in being culturally literate educators.”
“If those who are given the great responsibility and privilege to teach our next generation are completely ignorant of blackface’s role in supporting and justifying the institutions of Jim Crow and slavery, then something is very amiss.”
It was a powerful and accurate proclamation.
The Smithsonian noted that the despicable practice of Blackface is rooted in the minstrel shows that began in the 19th century. Whites portrayed comedic “blackness” by transmogrifying Black culture through exaggerated makeup and costumes.
Civic organizations commonly used minstrel shows as fundraisers and old films through the 1940s featured Blackface numbers from performers like Al Jolson, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.
Because so many people forgot the roots of Blackface, CBS Sunday Morning decided to refresh people’s memories.
Watch the segment here.
Blackface perpetuated stereotypes in a very derisive manner. Blackface remains offensive and should remain off-limits.