Tobi Akingbade, 24, said she burst into tears at her desk when she saw the image, which mocked a photo she had tweeted after graduating from the University of Hertfordshire at the third attempt in September.What highly specialised, technical subject was she attempting to get a degree in, then?
Miss Akingbade, who studied mass communication and lives in east London…Well, it’s hard to see how one could fail that, isn’t?
And even harder to see how anyone could regard this as worth studying for in the first place.
In an open letter on Medium.com, she wrote: “I sat behind my screen at work and burst into tears... For a few seconds I felt worthless, meaningless and not very human… “Using a photo of someone else in blackface doesn’t eradicate the fact that you used a photo with blackface to mimic me, a black woman. “Blackface is not cool during Halloween and it’s not cool in February. Did you not know that you veered into racism when you turned me into an object of ridicule using blackface?”
The writer, who works for a social enterprise called Dream Nation, said she had endured “five difficult years” at university before completing her degree due to problems in her personal life.She works for a company that has this as its mission statement: ”We believe that every individual has unlimited potential, and when people reach, or even come close to achieving what they are capable of, they are able to change their families, communities and eventually the world. Our mission is to empower a generation to become Practical Dreamers; women and men who take steps to turn their dreams into their reality. We created Dream Nation as a social enterprise to give structure to the movement.”
And if you can figure out what any of that means, or what this company actually does, congratulations!
The man who shared the tweet has since taken it down and apologised, after facing a barrage of criticism from supporters of Miss Akingbade. She said she accepted his apology, writing: "As weak as your apology was, I accept it. "Why? Because I have a life to live and harbouring unforgivness does nothing for my own sanity. "There is no way I’m letting the actions of an ignorant Twitter warrior stay rent free in my head."Except of course by plastering it all over social media. Which makes me wonder, now, if the whole thing wasn’t a publicity stunt for Dream Nation…