A Florida high school student is facing serious social media backlash after a picture of his racist promposal sign went viral over the weekend.
In the picture, 18-year-old Riverview High School student Noah Crowley stands smiling and holding a less than clever sign asking his girlfriend to the prom. It reads: “If I was black, I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white, so I’m picking u 4 prom.”
The photo began making the Internet rounds after his girlfriend posted it to Snapchat and, puzzlingly, captioned it with two heart-eyes Emojis. However, not everyone felt this gesture warranted eyes of hearts. According to The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, students posted the image to Twitter, where it received hundreds of tweets and retweets shaming Crowley and his admiring (and underage) girlfriend.
Riverview High senior Anton Kernohan told the newspaper that he’s glad it happened: “It shows that racism is still alive and well in our society, and it shows that racism is still alive in my generation and it is something that we as the youth will have to continue to fight against,” he said.
Crowley reportedly took to social media on Monday morning to apologize: “Anyone who knows me ..knows that that’s not how we truly feel,” he said, according to local Sarasota station WTSP. “It was a complete joke and it went too far. After reading the texts and Snapchats, I truly see how I have offended people and I’m sorry.”
But many of his peers aren’t buying Crowley’s contrition, asserting that writing a “joke”about slavery in the first place is indicative of the sort of subtle, insidious racism (if there be such a thing) that is arguably more dangerous than anything overt.
— Cherita Is Random (@cheritaisrandom) April 23, 2018
Might want to let student #NoahCrowley that his fellow students have made this great achievement, and are not in fact picking cotton. Are these young men going to have to attend prom with attitudes like this? pic.twitter.com/9w8zoEE1Z9
— Ciara Murphy (@berzerkobarbie) April 23, 2018
WHOOOOOS KID? on what EARTH is this okay? Mr Noah Crowley from Riverview High, i HOPE you get banned from going to that prom?? pic.twitter.com/6Re8J923yv
— Trinity (@t_homie13) April 23, 2018
@sarasotaschools As an alum of RHS, something needs to be done about Noah Crowley and his racist behavior. It is unacceptable. I proudly wear my class ring every day, but I cannot stand to see this slide.
— christina d spillman (@christinadspill) April 23, 2018
The Herald-Tribune reported that Riverview parents were informed of the incident on Monday morning, with acting principal Kathy Wilks stating in a robocall that the post “was racial in nature and administration became aware of it last night.” She continued, “Many who saw the post are understandably upset with its contents as well as the subsequent commentary to the post. Riverview High School absolutely does not condone or support the message conveyed in this post.”
The school has yet to announce whether it will take disciplinary action against Crowley.