Twitter | @jxxsie_

University Apologizes For 'Repulsive' Post Made By Students In Blackface

In theory, the generation of students in university right now should be the most social media savvy of all. They've grown up with it, they've seen plenty of people succeed and fail on it, they should know what not to do on social media very, very well.

And yet they keep making mistakes. Surely these kids know to think twice before they post anything, right? They must know that if there's a chance something can be taken the wrong way, they should absolutely not hit Enter, right?

Well, maybe not everyone. And what's even more concerning is the thinking process that went into this Snapchat pic in the first place.

The administration at the University of Tennessee Knoxville had to issue an apology after a Snapchat image showing two students in blackface, with a racist caption, went viral.

The image was shared on Twitter by a concerned student who goes by the handle @jxxsie_, and it features two students possibly using charcoal face masks and a caption reading "We for racial equality boys. Bout to get this free college now that I'm black let's goooo #blacklivesmatter."

The student who shared the picture admitted some reluctance about posting it, but said that it "hit an emotional spot for me for people to think that i did not EARN what was given to me because of my race."

Twitter | @nina80s0

In a thread, the student said that "to see these actions from people @UTKnoxville really hurts because i did not think that people would not only belittle a race and what they stand for but also degrade the earnings of hardworking people because of the complexion of their skin."

The student also said that "Caucasian friends basically told me to silence my thoughts about it because they did not want their friend to be mad at them."

Twitter | @AstuteLenz

Sharing the image seems to have been a good idea, however, because it started getting shared around and, before long, some of the students in the photo had been identified, and the university's administrators made aware.

One of the students featured in the image — but not in blackface — reached out via Twitter to apologize.

"I would just want to say that I wasn't aware the guy who made the post made a racist comment with it," they wrote. "I'm also in the photo and I apologize, I respect struggle and I didn't grow up with much either so him making those comments is ridiculous. I literally thought he was just taking a picture of his face mask."

Another one of the students, who did appear in blackface, also tried to apologize via Twitter.

He said "We were putting on charcoal face masks to help with acne, and I decided to write a joke that was certainly not funny in the least. It was immature, and it doesn't reflect my true personality and I am so so sorry. To any offended from this, I hope you can as well find it in you to forgive me for my actions."

However, @jxxsie_ was not convinced, saying "pretty sure he typed this for the public eye anyway so here you go," when posting the above apology.

And apparently a few people privately messaged her to say that they had encountered that guy before in high school, and that harassment and bullying were not out of character for him. One said that she "eventually dropped out and locked my social media up the best that I could to get away from it."

When the university became aware of the photo, it issued a public statement condemning it.

"The image is repulsive and the caption abhorrent," the statement read. "The racism displayed in this image does not represent the behavior we expect of students or our Volunteer values."

The university also said that its Bias Education Response Team and the Office of the Dean of Students would determine the next steps.

Although the university says that federal law prevents them from releasing details about how the students will be punished, a petition was started on asking the school to expel the students and "enact a zero tolerance policy towards racism and hate speech." So far, it has received almost 3,000 signatures.

The University of Tennessee Knoxville's chapter of the NAACP also responded to the picture.

Facebook | University of Tennessee, Knoxville

It said that it "would like to express its strong condemnation to the series of racial attacks that have happened in the last few months, and the most recent form of black face appearing on social media platforms."