UMD students express regret over racist video

[Update: 11/22/12 12:17 a.m. YouTube has removed the video as a violation of a policy that prohibits hate speech. There is another version with commentary from YouTube user Lrjtv here.] A video including two females, at least one of which is a current University of Minnesota Duluth student, has surfaced on YouTube including what the administration is calling “unfortunate racist content.”

The video includes Caucasian females in black face makeup directing slurs toward the African-American community.

The two women had quotes claiming to be from the “black hood,” needing some “fried (expletive deleted) chicken” and likening themselves to looking “like apes right now.”

Both women in the video, Rachel Cooper and Jessica Heid, responded to the video.

“We were doing facials and it happened to have been a brown facial mask,” Cooper said in an email. “We had to leave it on for 12 minutes. During that 12 minutes, we horribly decided to make a video that we regret and are not happy about. This was made over a year ago.”

Cooper continued her email in an apologetic manner.

“I am saddened and sick to my stomach and sorry for anybody it offends. It was not mine or hers intention at all and we are embarrassed about it. We understand we cannot do anything about it now but apologize and inform people we did not paint our faces or put that on to purposely make a video. It was something that just happened after putting the facial cream on and we are so deeply sorry. This video does not define our true selves at all.”

Jessica Heid also replied to the video.

"That video does not define who we are... it was accidental... we did not intend to hurt anyone with it."

According to Heid, she has already been receiving threats and hate mail surrounding this video.

The chancellor’s office addressed this video on Nov. 15 in an email to the UMD campus community.

“We have seen the video; we abhor it,” Chancellor Lendley Black said in the email. “This is unacceptable behavior for anyone, and we at UMD are extremely unhappy to be associated with it in any way.”

The video was posted early Wednesday morning under a newly created YouTube profile name of UMDHate. The video is a repost and not from the original poster.

The administration refused to comment any further beyond the Nov. 15 email that stated, “We take appropriate action in instances like this… we can affirm our disapproval of the video, and reaffirm our goal of providing an environment where students live, study, and learn from and about each other in an inclusive and supportive way. We hope that out of this distressing incident will at least come some broader understanding and personal growth.”


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