O n October 27, at an after-school event, two Dalton seniors screened a video that they intended to be humorous that, according to head of school Ellen Stein, contained “racially offensive references.” “It was made to make fun of racism, not be racist,” says a Dalton student who saw the video. It included a close-up of a picture of an actor in blackface, and poked fun at Asians. The boys had made the video two years earlier as part of a comedy group. In response, an assembly was called at which students and faculty “shared their views on a number of issues, including the importance of historical awareness, genuine empathy, and ongoing dialogue in our diverse community,” according to Stein. “In our politically correct Dalton-world, the idea that someone would make, and then show, a video that’s racist is ludicrous,” the student says. Emotions ran high, but the would-be comedians weren’t disciplined. High schoolers “would have been outraged had these guys—who were clearly just trying to be funny—been punished,” says the student.
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