Teen's racist promposal goes viral: 'If I was black I'd be picking cotton'

Lauren Tuck
News Editor
Yahoo Lifestyle

Update: Noah Crawley’s parents released a statement to HuffPost on Tuesday saying that the teen will not be attending school activities for the rest of the year, including the prom and graduation.

While our son has apologized himself, on behalf of our family, we wish to also express our most sincere apologies for the terrible words used in his ‘promposal.’ We love our son dearly and know that he is a far better person than reflected in this reckless behavior. That said, as loving parents, we also feel compelled to share our own deep regret and serious concern about his actions. After numerous familial conversations and lengthy discussions with Riverview High School administrators, we have jointly agreed that our son will not be attending any further school activities or functions, including the Prom or graduation ceremony. As a family, we truly recognize this incident is a very difficult but important life lesson and pledge to do all we can to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. Certainly, we hope that all of the people and communities who were hurt and offended will forgive our son and family.”

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A high school student who used a racist sign to ask his girlfriend to prom is getting backlash, the Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, Fla., reports.

Noah Crowley, 18, who goes to Riverview High School in Sarasota, held up a sign that read, “If I was black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking U 4 Prom?” The recipient of the promposal reportedly answered affirmatively with two heart-eye emojis.

Photo: Twitter/TBraelynn
Photo: Twitter/TBraelynn

A photo of the teenager holding up the poster was shared to Snapchat, then screenshots circulated on Twitter, where many are calling it “racist af” and asking for the teenager to be banned from the dance.






According to WFMY, Crawley apologized on social media. “It was a completely joke and it went too far,” he said. “After reading the texts and Snapchat’s I truly see how I have offended people and I’m sorry.”

The Sarasota County School District said on Monday morning that “neither the school district nor Riverview High School condones or supports the message conveyed in the post. This incident remains an on-going investigation and any disciplinary action and recommendation will be made accordingly.” The statement continued, noting that “the school district is working with local and national civic leaders, including the NAACP, to develop a roundtable forum to discuss the issue of race — not just at Riverview, but district-wide.”

Parents also received a robocall from the school’s acting principal, Kathy Wilks, informing them of the situation. “Many who saw the post are understandably upset with its contents as well as the subsequent commentary to the post,” the recorded message said. “Our guidance counselors and administrators are available for any students who wish to speak to someone regarding the issue. Riverview High School has a wonderful student population, and we know our school will use this incident as an opportunity to have productive conversations about respect for one another.”

As Erin Williams, a student in the district, noted, this blatant display of racism is not an isolated incident, writing on Facebook that Riverview has been going through a “race war” for the past couple of weeks. 

The inflammatory image from last year’s version of the cotton-picking promposal theme.
The inflammatory image from last year’s version of the cotton-picking promposal theme.

Crowley was apparently unaware of the similar incident that went down in the South Florida region last year. That’s when two white girls invited their black friend to prom by holding up a cardboard sign reading, “You may be picking cotton, but we’re picking you to go to prom with us.” The two students were suspended and then released an apology through their parents, calling it an “unfortunate inside joke that was never meant to be seen on social media.”

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