'I'm Truly Sorry': Milpitas High Teacher Apologizes for Imitating Rapper Common While in Blackface - NBC Bay Area
South Bay

South Bay

The latest news from around the South Bay

'I'm Truly Sorry': Milpitas High Teacher Apologizes for Imitating Rapper Common While in Blackface

Common said he would like to speak with the Bay Area educator who dressed up in blackface and imitated the rapper and social activist in front of his classroom on Halloween

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Milpitas High Teacher Apologizes for Blackface Incident

    A Bay Area teacher is apologizing for appearing in blackface and the rapper he imitated responded by calling the incident a teachable moment. Robert Handa and Scott Budman report.

    (Published Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019)

    A Bay Area teacher is apologizing for appearing in blackface and the rapper he imitated responded by calling the incident a teachable moment.

    Common said he would like to speak with the Mlipitas teacher who dressed up in blackface and imitated the rapper and social activist in front of his classroom on Halloween.

    Milpitas High Teacher Apologizes for Blackface IncidentMilpitas High Teacher Apologizes for Blackface Incident

    A Bay Area teacher is apologizing for appearing in blackface and the rapper he imitated responded by calling the incident a teachable moment. Ian Cull reports.

    (Published Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019)

    "My first thought was, what the hell?" Common said said in an interview with NBC Bay Area. "I'd meet him, to educate him; he's a teacher."

    Milpitas High School teacher David Carter spoke exclusively to NBC Bay Area on Thursday. The 48-year-old educator struggled to explain what he did, while trying to deal with the worldwide -- mostly negative -- reaction to his decision to dress up as Common and teach class.

    RAW: Milpitas Teacher Discusses Blackface IncidentRAW: Milpitas Teacher Discusses Blackface Incident

    A Milpitas teacher on leave after video posted on social media appears to show him in black face speaks exclusively to NBC Bay Area's Robert Handa.

    (Published Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019)

    Carter said the Halloween presentation was planned for weeks and that his engineering students expected it.

    "I would become the hip-hop artist Common, doing the Microsoft AI guy," Carter said. "I had no intention to come across as blackface and my actions were perceived that way, and offended so many people. I'm truly sorry and I apologize."

    Carter said he was stunned by the backlash and defended his methods to a point.

    "As a teacher I constantly go over the top to engage my students in learning -- I went too far," he said.

    The educator said he hopes the whole episode can start a dialogue about understanding and appreciating culture, and he hopes he can do it in his classroom.

    "I recognize my mistake. I ask anybody who has been adverselfy affected by this, and that's a lot of people, to give me another chance because my heart is in the right place," Carter said.

    Carter remains on administrative leave as he awaits a decision from the Milpitas Unified School District on his future.

    Meanwhile, Common said he first saw the video when his daughter sent it to him.

    "Blackface lacks understanding of what black and brown people go through," he said. "I believe in forgiveness, understanding, and compassion to the point where I'm willing to sit and talk with the individual and also bring others who can dig deeper into the education of what blackface has come from."

    Earlier in the day, Common in an interview with TMZ was also asked about the incident while he was at Los Angeles International Airport prior to boarding a flight to the Bay Area.

    "It's important that teachers and people who are educating our children are well educated themselves on things that deal with history and culture -- emotional history and emotional intelligence is important," Common said to TMZ. "I think we need to look at the teacher, the administration and the people that we have leading our children in classrooms and make sure they are fully equipped not just with academic things, but also have emotional intelligence and understanding. Maybe that's something that we start implementing to our schools."

    The Milpitas Unified School District this week announced it placed Carter on administrative leave after video posted on social media shows the Milpitas High teacher in black face and apparently imitating Common.

    Common was asked by TMZ about the punishment the educator should face.

    "That's a decision administration needs to figure out as far as should this person lose their job. I think that he should definitely go through the training that needs to be done. I would love to hear, 'What makes you think you can go up there and do that?'"

    Common also told TMZ he was headed to the Bay Area and wants to get in touch with the school. He also said he would like to speak face-to-face with the educator.

    "I'd break it down to him and it would be done with love, but it would be for real. This ain't acceptable, this ain't happening. I would let him know what it is, for sure," Common said. "I'm glad it happened because it's a moment that we got to teach and learn. And more than anything the students showed what they're about. And that goes to show you young people in America got their mind in the right place."

    The NAACP has also demanded an investigation into the incident.

    "It’s harmful, it’s hurtful, it’s not the right environment for a student of color to see their teacher perform like that," said Pastor Jethroe Moore with the NAACP.

    On Sunday, the president of the Milpitas Unified school board, Chris Norwood, issued a statement, saying the actions were inappropriate, unprofessional and insensitive.

    "District administration has placed a staff member on administrative leave, and I have asked the superintendent to ensure an immediate investigation is conducted," Norwood said.

    Get the latest from NBC Bay Area anywhere, anytime
    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android