Two local diversity advocates in Arizona are taking heat after calling a school district racist for hiring a DJ to perform in blackface — but it turns out the DJ was black.
Stuart Rhoden and Jill Lassen — who specialize in diversity, equity and inclusion — lambasted the Scottsdale Unified School District’s Hopi Elementary PTA for its decision to hire Kim Koko Hunter, 56, a local black DJ, at a charity event.
Both Rhoden and Lassen, who are involved in diversity work in the school district, slammed the school after seeing a picture of Hunter, only to later learn his race, according to the Arizona Daily Independent.
“The DJ that the Hopi PTA hire[d] was, in fact a Black man,” Hopi PTA president Megan Livengood wrote in response to Lassen in a message obtained by the outlet. “It is insulting that you feel myself or PTA condone racist behavior or encourage it by posting on social media.”
According to the Independent, Lassen, a librarian, responded by saying: “You are right, we should’ve reached out and inquired before making such accusations. I cannot fathom the hurt, anger and frustration you felt after you and others volunteered countless hours on your event. Again I truly apologize.”
But Rhoden, who is an instructor at Arizona State University, did not appear particularly apologetic and posted a side-by-side image of Hunter on Facebook to try to show that the DJ darkened his face even if he is black.
“Let me be clear, a black man, apparently in black face is an entirely different discussion than a White person,” he wrote on Facebook. “However… it seems at the very least he is in darker make-up if not ‘Black face’ or I am completely mistaken and it’s the lighting of the patio.”