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Cheerleader in ‘blackface’ Halloween costume draws anger – and apology from Texas gym

A cheerleader wearing a Halloween costume resembling blackface was caught on video and brought anger from activists in Texas.

Now the cheerleading gym has apologized for the mask worn by the child.

The video posted on Facebook by Kevin Garner Sr., an African American activist, shows a girl in a black mask running from another child in a police costume during a Halloween lock-in at Champion Cheer in Southlake, Texas. Then the “cop” chases the girl, pushes her to the ground and gets on her back to arrest her as cash goes flying, video shows.

Garner, who founded activist group BKG Empowerment Network, called it racist.

This is outrageous,” Garner wrote on Facebook. “Teaching and training them to be racist! I am demanding this school be held responsible for allowing students to behave this way!”

In a Facebook post, Champion Cheer apologized for the costume in the video of a costume contest during a lock-in. The girl wore a “black Halloween/masquerade mask to conceal her identity as the robber,” and children picked out their own costumes, according to the Facebook post.

“We sincerely apologize to those who were hurt by the video,” Champion Cheer wrote in a Facebook post. “Champion Cheer is an equal opportunity employer with a diverse staff. We embrace diversity amongst our athletes as well.”

For Garner, the apology isn’t enough, WFAA reported.

“Right now, the climate, the feel and tone of things, right now, is just not a time to take these things lightly and sweep them under the rug,” Garner told the Dallas TV station.

From national leaders to local politicians, blackface costume controversies continue to make headlines.

Pictures and videos have shown Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing blackface or brownface makeup on three occasions, The Washington Post reported.

A sheriff candidate in South Carolina admitted to wearing blackface makeup to a Halloween party about 10 years ago and showed the picture in a campaign video, McClatchy news group reported.

An honors student at the University of Mississippi reported himself to school officials for wearing blackface, prompting a warning from the school to avoid “culturally inappropriate behavior” at costume parties during Halloween, The Associated Press reported.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.
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