Canada blackface incident prompts complaint

AP News
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Posted: Sep 20, 2011 6:33 PM
Canada blackface incident prompts complaint

A university student who filmed white business students in blackface and chanting in mock Jamaican accents said Tuesday he is filing a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission about the incident.

Anthony Morgan, a McGill University student of Jamaican decent, filmed HEC Montreal business school students dressed in the colors of the Jamaican flag, many with their faces, arms, hands and legs painted black. He said some of the students were also chanting, "Smoke more weed."

The business school said the students were participating in a back-to-school "stunt" organized by a student sports committee. They claimed to be portraying Jamaican sprinter and three-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt.

The school is affiliated with the Universite de Montreal. Its secretary-general, Jacques Nantel, said he has personally apologized to Morgan on behalf of the school and the students and said written apologies will follow. But no punishments have been announced.

Morgan said he agreed with that response.

"I do not think the students involved should be punished, but that HEC should seize this opportunity by helping them to educate themselves and their peers about the background of the symbols they used," Morgan said in a statement.

Morgan said complaining to the human rights commission will help the school gain access its resources to deal with the issue.

HEC is considered among the oldest and most prestigious business schools in Canada.