By Amber Jayanth
SHARONVILLE, OH (FOX19) - A UPS worker in Sharonville is out of a job after a picture has surfaced of her dressed in blackface.
UPS is not releasing the woman’s name or telling us how long she has been with the company. The did, however, release a statement that read in part: “UPS has no tolerance for hate or bigotry."
The image has been circulating online, stirring a lot of emotions in the community.
“It creeped the hell out of me,” said Stephanie Milton, who lives in the area.
The picture shows the woman dressed in blackface with a red scarf tied around her head to embody the stereotype of the Mammy character in minstrel shows.
An employee at UPS that did not want to be named told FOX19 the woman showed up to work in the costume, jumped on a conveyor belt, and started dancing.
Some community members say there is no place for it in Sharonville.
“How is that funny? How is it a costume you know? There’s plenty of black faces out here working hard. What sense does it make? It’s offensive just because you don’t see black people out here trying to be white it just makes no sense to me,” said Milton.
Eric Jackson, director of the Black Studies Program at Northern Kentucky University, said dressing in blackface brings up a painful past. Characters of white men dressing up as black people in minstrel shows date back to the 1800s.
“It’s taking African American images and moving it to a stereotype and brings it to the forefront. It’s the most obscene negative over the top images,” said Jackson.
He said he believes that those who dress in blackface now generally don’t understand why it’s wrong.
“I know it’s not taught in school because that’s one of the periods during the Reconstruction Period that no one really talks about,” he said.
It's not clear what the UPS worker's intentions were.
“The company has strict policies against harassment and discrimination, and has terminated this individual’s employment with the company,” the UPS statement reads.
Some FOX19 spoke to say they are happy UPS decided to fire the worker.
This moment, Jackson said, shows that America still needs to have a difficult discussion about race.
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