Cedar City Blackface


Em Tran

Art by Em Tran

Avery January

Utah is known for a few things; mountains, movies, and mormons. Things we embrace as a state. And things that are pretty much only known nationwide. Now Utah is known for something worldwide, and no it’s not the snow or our soda shops, it is blatant racism. 

A recent video of teenagers in a Cedar City Walmart went viral on social media platform, TikTok. The video went viral because the teenagers were dressed as prisoners in full blackface for Halloween. The video was taken by a bystander who saw what these teenagers were doing and called it out, asking them if they really thought that what they were doing was acceptable. The teens laughed it off and acted like the whole thing was a joke.

 The video spread quickly and went worldwide with accusations of who these teens could be. Some even went as far to falsely accuse Canyon View High School students because their school had the same initials as Cedar Valley High School. The Cedar City police department and the Iron County School District started an investigation quickly after the video went viral. The police say that they have identified the teenagers involved but will not be dropping any names. In response to the blackface costumes, Utah Governor Spencer Cox said that ‘we need to do better’ and condemned their actions.   

For unknown reasons the original tiktok was taken down, however the internet being how it is, screen recordings of the video are still circulating. Other videos started popping up of racism in Utah, some in stories and experiences, others in visual evidence. Though this seems like a one time instance, there have been many times in the past where Utah has gotten the spotlight for racism. An example of this being BYU fans shouting racial slurs to the opposing team during a volleyball game just this year. Though BYU has contested this to happen , it still affected the BYU players, who’s contestants are now backing out of games scheduled with BYU. 

The teenagers who decided their Halloween costume would be through the public’s eyes considered a hate crime, had to go through multiple stages in which they could have turned around and thought, ‘hey this might not be okay.’ They had to plan the costume out. They had to purchase the paint and the costumes. They had to spend presumably a long time putting the makeup on, and they had to walk past their parents as they left the house. The parents cannot be judged in this because it is unclear if they knew that their kids had done this, but in what environment is someone raised where they think that this is okay? 

It’s disappointing that Utah should be recognized in this way. However, it’s important that these issues are now being addressed because of social media. Racism knows no borders, but it’s no surprise to Utahns that the valley is a hotspot for racism. Racist actions need to be brought into light so people can see that it is not acceptable, and they will be held accountable for their actions. We need to do better.