Bitmoji, lynching drawing spark controversy over 2 promposals

LOS GATOS, Calif. -- Students at Los Gatos High School in California are buzzing about two controversial promposals that some feel were racist.

At Los Gatos High School and others, gone are the days of simply asking a prospective date to prom. "The ask" is as monumental as the prom itself.

"Now, just wanting to go with someone you like just isn't enough," said senior Danika Lyle.

Lyle, one of the school newspaper's editors, got a tip.

"That a blackface prom ask had taken place and that no one was reporting it," said Lyle.

The senior at the center of the controversial promposal requested that ABC7 News not identify him. He says his ask was taken out of context.

"There was no intention of racism," said the student.

It began with a snap-chatted Bitmoji ask.

"He has black skin and he has a blue mohawk, blue eyebrows and a blue goatee," said the student.

When his prospective date wasn't impressed, he had another idea.

"I dressed exactly like the Bitmoji and then asked her," he said, including painting his face black with blue hair, eyebrows and a goatee.

Lyle, who is half African American, says even with the Bitmoji context she is still offended.

"What you're saying when you make a Bitmoji for the purpose of being funny and then make it black, which the student is not, you're saying
something about that skin tone, about it being funny," said Lyle.

"I did not mean for people to take it this way. I did not mean this in a racist way whatsoever. I'm very sorry if you feel offended," said the student.

The online version of the paper also covered a controversial junior promposal.

"It was sick," said Lyle. "It said along the lines of do you want to be my N-word and hang with me at prom and then it detailed a black person hanging from a tree."

Lyle is hopeful Los Gatos is now taking steps to better educate students ahead of next year's prom season.

"On racism and modern-day nuanced racism," said Lyle. null
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