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Racism concerns prompt Arizona State University to discourage face paint

PHOENIX — Arizona State University is asking fans to stop wearing face paint to sporting events after some claimed it could make them look racist.

The concerns were raised after ASU’s game against the UCLA Bruins. The Tempe school asked fans to wear all black to echo the team’s uniforms.

Some fans opted to paint their faces black in a sign of support, but some claimed white students using black face paint was too reminiscent of “blackface.” The term originated in 19th-century theater, when a white actor would portray a black person, typically in an offensive manner.

Thought the request was made after racism concerns, the school is discouraging all face paint.

“As an inclusive and forward-thinking university, it is important for us to foster an environment in which everyone feels safe and accepted,” the school’s athletic website read. “Therefore, we discourage the use of face paint at any event, whether the theme is black, maroon, gold or white, and ask our fans to show their Sun Devil Pride in other ways.”

ASU hosts several themed games throughout the season. In addition to the “Blackout,” the team also hosts the “Maroon Monsoon,” when the team dons all-maroon uniforms.

ASU also dealt with an outcry of racism earlier this year when a fraternity hosted a racially-themed party.

A Valley civil rights activist alerted the university to the “MLK Black Party,” which was hosted by Tau Kappa Epsilon in January.