The Iowa teacher who wore ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ blackface issued a rambling statement and it’s bananas
Megan Luloff, the Iowa elementary school teacher under investigation for wearing head-to-toe blackface to a Halloween party and proudly sharing it on social media, is finally speaking out, via her attorney—and her statement is arguably worse than her “costume.”
essay statement, written by attorney Catherine Zamora Cartee and addressed to “Whom it May Concern,” was sent to local media late in the day on October 31. The screed is equal parts “not my fault” and “I didn’t know,” with dashes of whataboutism and “actually, you should be thanking me for this.” The statement also blames a local newspaper for forcing Luloff to face consequences for her racist-ass costume execution.
Counselor Cartee begins by telling us that the modern-day minstrel teaches good, and has not only taught white students in her storied career in the state that has continuously elected unapologetic bigot Steve King to public office since 1996.
(T)he Davenport School District is one of the most diverse school districts in the entire state of Iowa. Megan has been a dedicated teacher within this district for ten years, of which the majority of her employ at a racially diverse elementary school. Throughout this time, Megan has maintained an impeccable employment record.
Next, Cartee insists that Luloff just wanted to nail her LaFawnduh Dynamite costume, and had never heard of blackface in her whole! entire! life! She just knew how to execute it!
In an effort to complete her costume Megan used a dark foundation to enhance her pigmentation to create the likeness of Lafawndah. At no point during her preparation for the party, or her participation at the event, did Megan ever intend to mock the character’s ethnicity or take any action intended to be offensive to anyone. At this point in time Megan had never heard the term “Blackface” nor did she know the history of the term.
It never occurred to her, see, that covering herself in whatever that black stuff was a bad choice. Cartee doesn’t mention it, but clearly Luloff’s devotion to authenticity was so severe, she was willing to risk her white pants being stained.
Next, Cartee blames Luloff’s local paper, The Quad City Times, for ruining the country and Luloff’s life, before immediately giving Luloff a bunch of cookies and credit for educating the nation on blackface.
It is clear from their article and accompanied picture, that the Quad City Times either acted, to promote an already divisive country (which it did) or meant said publication to cause death threats to Megan and her family (which it has). It is equally apparent, that this picture has now made thousands of citizens aware of what Blackface is historically and how hurtful it is to all African-Americans.
Megan, along with many of her friends and family, were completely unaware of what Blackface was historically or that such a term even existed.
After hearing and understanding what Blackface is/was, Megan immediately understood the anger and outrage at the photo.
Apparently, Luloff is super “grateful” that everyone knows about blackface now, because, as mentioned above, nobody knew about it before, since Luloff (and most of the people she knows) hadn’t heard of it before.
Basically, y’all, Luloff is an American hero—a local awareness-raiser in shoe polish and a Party City wig. Surely we can all agree on this fact.
Cartee then veers sharply into whataboutism; after nearly crashing into the land of “I have a black friend,” the statement next attempts to leverage Luloff’s son’s struggles, as an example of just how incapable of wearing blackface the blackface-wearing educator is.
Megan’s child has an appearance that is much different than most of the people around him. She has often experienced stares, mocking, and ridicule on behalf of her child’s appearance. Megan understands personally, how sensitive feelings about appearance can be. She knows how hurtful and damaging it can be when you think someone is mocking your appearance. Throughout history, people affected by albinism have been humiliated, mocked, sent away from their families, worst of all beaten and thought of as “witch craft.”
Using her kid as a pawn in this spinning game is probably the low point in this “statement,” but let’s see it through to the end, just in case it gets worse.
Oh, wait. It does. Now it’s time for Cartee to dip into the Megyn Kelly playbook, and talk about how perfect and perfectly incapable of doing harm her client is. The essay closes with a reminder that Luloff is responsible for teaching us so much about blackface.
Megan has worked with families and students of all race and ethnicities. Megan has loved and treated every child like her own and throughout her life and the duration of her career has never seen color as a distinguishing characteristic between her students. Megan’s inclination to help and protect each and every one of her students despite racial background, leaves her morally and spiritually incapable of ever taking an action that she believes would offend or hurt someone.
Megan only hopes that her experience and lack of education on this topic will help others understand and avoid the same mistakes in the future.
KWQC6, the local NBC affiliate, reports that Luloff remains under investigation, and is still employed as a first grade teacher at Walcott Elementary School.
Really? At least the heinous folks who dressed up like Mexican stereotypes and Donald Trump’s hatred wall are on administrative leave.
Cartee’s full statement can be found here, if you’re looking for a weekend headache.