Video: Students Dress in Blackface, University of Montreal Supports Them


Students at the University of Montreal's business school dressed up as Jamaican sprinters (in blackface), wore wigs and waved Jamaican flags during an Olympics event at their school. They also chanted "more weed" (video below).

The event was part of an annual athletic week to encourage students to take part in extra-curricular activities, which they did, offending other students.

Student Anthony Morgan, who is of Jamaican descent, told CBS News: "They had reduced all of who I am and the history of Jamaica and culture of Jamaica to these negative connotations of weed smoking, black skin, rastas."

Morgan added: "It was humiliating as though your race is somehow a costume for baffoonery, as though somehow I was invisible or less than a person. It was really tough to have to walk by that. It’s a very painful reminder of a time when we weren’t considered people. I don’t think that was anyone’s intention but it was still deeply disturbing."

When one of the group members noticed Morgan, he allegedly yelled: "Look guys, we’ve got a real black! He then turned to the crowd and continued chanting: 'Smoke some weed! Yeah mon! Yeah mon!"

Morgan said he was considering filing a human rights complaint with Quebec Human Rights Commission.

The University defended the students saying the freshmen were assigned an ambassador, Olympic medalist Usain Bolt, and a sport for the day and had to dress up in costume.

Committee director Frank Sciortino said: "Usain Bolt, being on the front page of everything concerning track and field due to his multiple record-breaking performances, was the group's ambassador for the day. Consequently, the group decided to costume themselves as Usain Bolt, emphasizing on the Jamaican colours, his native country."

Fo Niemi, the executive director of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, told the Montreal Gazette: "What kind of a message does it send to your black students when you don’t stand up for them. What kind of message does it send to the community at large? It may be a simple case of ignorance, but ignorance doesn’t excuse this type of behavior."


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