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Duke apologizes for player's 'insensitive' Halloween costume

Posted November 12, 2012

— The Duke University women's lacrosse team has come under fire after a photo was posted on a university website that showed a player in black-face.

The photo was taken at a Halloween party at coach Kerstin Kimel's house, where a group of juniors dressed up like characters from The Little Rascals comedy movies. The player who dressed as "Buckwheat" painted her face black for the party.

The photo appeared on GoDuke.com last week along with a player's blogpost, but it was removed early Monday.

Duke officials declined to comment Monday, other than saying a staff member had approved the blog and the picture before they were posted.

Kimel issued a statement apologizing for the costume.

“Some of our costume choices were insensitive and entirely inappropriate. No offense was intended, but that does not matter, because we should have realized how these choices would be viewed by those outside of our program," she said. "On behalf of our coaching staff and our student-athletes, we apologize to anyone we may have offended and understand (that), while we believed we were making decisions in good fun, we should have been much more sensitive to the implications of our actions.”

Reactions on the Duke campus to the student's decision to wear black-face were mixed.

Duke women's lacrosse team Duke lacrosse player wears black-face to team party

"It was probably done out of ignorance, I would say. She probably didn't realize how that could be taken offensively. She probably knows now," student Jillian Dawkins said.

"I don't think, at this point, it should be a question of whether it is right or wrong. I mean, everyone knows you don't do black-face. I don't think there is much nuance in it," graduate student Audrey Bone said.

"If that's what he actually looked like, I am actually fine with that," student Brooks Sime said. "I am all for the spirit of Halloween and dressing up and looking like the people you are supposed to portray, regardless of what you actually look like."

The blog noted that seniors on the lacrosse team dressed as "What would I be without Duke lacrosse," and the costumes included a hair stylist, a yoga instructor and a manicurist.


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  • ICTrue Nov 19, 2012

    Costume was no big deal...the appology on the other hand, proves that they are brainless pc drones

  • emerald7575 Nov 16, 2012

    apologizing for the costume. You got to be kidding!!!

  • CrewMax Nov 15, 2012

    Racism IS dead. Now we have political correctness run wild and people who get out bed everyday looking for a reason to get their panties wadded up.

  • raleighlynn Nov 15, 2012

    Brings new meaning to the term "oversensitive", does it not? If a black player showed up at a part in "whiteface" you can bet nobody would dare say a thing about it. Get over yourselves, people.

  • uGek010 Nov 15, 2012

    I'll be the first one to say that racism is not dead...but THIS is ridiculous. One must look at the purpose behind it...had it been done to bring a group of people down, and just out of pure malice then yes it is offensive otherwise this is irrational and taken to the extreme.

    I would like to know the races of the people who actually got offended by it and why?...

  • ligonmaterial23 Nov 14, 2012

    Aww everyone put your grown up pants on . A down to earth person can not be offended . And no you cant not offend me , People try and I find it quite funny

  • uBnice Nov 14, 2012

    @baybelle: You and your son have every right to be offended by being called such names. Some people act as if they can offend and as long as they do not consider it an offense then it is not one.

  • storchheim Nov 14, 2012

    " Who has the right to go through life thinking they are not going to be offended." batcave

    It's obvious. Just another entitlement!

  • Crumps Br0ther Nov 14, 2012

    If you're offended it automatically means you're right!

  • Crumps Br0ther Nov 14, 2012

    uBnice::::I wonder if you would feel the same if it were a show of blacks with white faces while portraying whites as ignorant, non-literate people.

    You want the truth? I'm white and it wouldn't bother me a dad gum bit. See, I don't get "offended" or "have my feelings hurt" over every little thing that happens. I live in a building where a few of people are like that, and I'll be the first to say it.


    I have been called a "kracker" before and it didnt bother me. It could never sting as bad as being called the "n" word or the "s" word.