CHASKA, Minn. — Tik-Tok is a video sharing network.
And over the weekend, a video of an alleged Chaska High School student wearing blackface left some families rattled. Donta Hughes, a father of three, was among the concerned.
"My kids know them. My kids and their friends sit in classes with these kids," he said. "It felt like we had taken a step backwards. It was frustrating and upsetting that anyone would take this as funny or thought it was entertaining at all."
Hughes has children who attend Chaska High in the Eastern Carver County School District.
"One kid was dancing around and music was playing in background and the other kid jumped in video that has blackface on," he said.
Monday, the district sent a letter to parents saying in part "we have worked hard to set the story straight about who and what we stand for."
But that's not all.
"They openly said the word racism, which was a big improvement from last year because they wouldn’t use the word at all last year," Hughes said. "The language that the district uses matters. Last year, nobody would say the word."
The second paragraph says “Blackface is rooted in racism and has been used for decades to dehumanize African-Americans. It is not funny, in any context. It is deeply harmful."
This isn't the district's first problem with racism. The problems in the district caught the attention of Minnesota's Attorney General, Keith Ellison.
In May 2019, a picture of a white student wearing blackface was printed in the Chaska High School yearbook.
In April, the district said white students created a Google Map and labeled it Negro Hill.
A federal lawsuit filed by six families in September claims Eastern Carver County Schools ignored those blatant incidents of racism.
"Things happened last year and everything from back then started to come back all over."
Kory Pullam, the artistic director of Underdog Theatre, said blackface is specifically meant to simplify black life and people’s existence.
"It was created by white folks in the 1830s and '40s. White folks would put on blackface because black people weren't allowed to perform," he said. "It was the only way for years that black people had any chance of performing was by putting on blackface."
Hughes says we are beyond needing a lesson on why it's wrong.
"Kids know know what it is and how harmful it is," he said. "I refuse to believe that any kid doesn't know that."