This is a representational image. FilippoBacci/Gettyimages

In Miami, Florida, a preschool teacher allegedly painted blackface on kids' faces as part of a lesson on Black History Month, which outraged parents.

The first parents got to know of the offensive lesson came after the school sent pictures around of the young students to their families. One of the children is dressed as a construction worker, and another is wearing a police uniform. In the background, a third kid can be seen, however it's unclear what their outfits are.

"You should know better as an educator," parent Courtney Politis, who is black, told the Miami Herald. "What else are you teaching our children?" Since then, Politis has taken her kids out of Studio Kids preschool.

There was outrage as soon as the pictures were posted in a parents' group chat. Politis then voiced her concerns to Patricia Vitale, the director of Studio Kids.

"This is racist," Politis texted Vitale, according to a screenshot of the conversation.
Vitale responded, "I'm sorry?"
Politis replied, "A lot of moms are very concerned."
"What is racist?" Vitale enquired, confused as to what Politis was referring to, reports Fox News.

'We have not intended to offend anyone, and we are very sorry about any inconvenience. The parents that know us, know that we have never had a bad intention in our institution,' Vitale wrote in a message sent to all parents.

Studio Kids, which charges $1,500 per month for the care of babies and toddlers, promotes itself on fostering an environment that is 'rich in warmth, love, learning, and play.'

When told about the photos, another parent who desired to remain anonymous stated she was "shocked and somewhat destabilized." She was worried that her child might have been involved in the incident, but she later learned that it was another class. When the lesson was "inappropriate," she explained to her child's teacher that she wanted to talk with the director.

"How do I trust them to decide what to show my toddler?" she said. The problem has been fixed, and according to Vitale, "80% of the households are okay," he told the Miami Herald. She told her lawyer to answer any additional queries.

The parents of Studio Kids who spoke with the media claim that the school's student body is predominantly Latino. According to Politis, the teacher who taught the lesson using blackface is Latina.

In the 1830s, blackface first appeared in the United States. It quickly came to be recognized as the defining characteristic of minstrelsy, or humorous performances by whites dressed in black that exaggerated the appearance and culture of Black Americans who were portrayed as lazy, illiterate, and hypersexual. According to the Smithsonian Museum, such representations allowed white Americans to "codify whiteness across social and geographical lines" as opposed to Blackness. Blackface is still a problem across the Caribbean and Latin America. In 2018, Teatro Trail in Little Havana staged the play "Tres Viudas en un Crucero," which featured a character who wore blackface for several months. The play's director first defended the character, but after facing outcry, he deleted it.

Also, this is not the first instance of blackface being utilized at a preschool. A Massachusetts preschool was forced to close in 2022 after teachers instructed toddlers to paint blackface masks on paper plates in honor of Black History Month, as reported by New York Post.

Andrea Queeley, a professor of anthropology at FIU who studies Cuba, the African diaspora and race said, "One of the arguments Latin Americans make in defense of their anti-blackness is that it's cultural or that racism doesn't exist, that it's a problem in the U.S. where there was Jim Crow segregation and not the same interracial nation-building projects."

"It is of course complicated but the historical, social, cultural and economic realities of Afro-Latin Americans suggest otherwise," Queeley stated.

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