Shelbi Heenan posted a photo of her in the racist costume to her Facebook account on Monday alongside her boyfriend, also in Blackface, dressed as Jay-Z, KCTV reported.
Shelbi Heenan (left) in Blackface
The photo quickly circulated online and by lunchtime, St. Luke’s hospital in Lee’s Summit released a statement saying Heenan was no longer an employee.
“While it is against Saint Luke’s policy to comment on specific personnel matters, we can confirm that this individual is no longer a Saint Luke’s employee,” read the statement.
“Saint Luke’s is deeply committed to our culture of diversity and inclusion. It is fundamental to who we are as an organization and we vigorously protect it on behalf of all our patients and employees and expect those who represent us to do the same,” the statement continued.
Heenan’s Facebook account was no longer active on Wednesday, but a photo of her from 2009 reportedly showed her in blackface dressed as a member of Destiny’s Child, Fox4KC reported.
Teachers in the local community used the incident as an opportunity to educate people on the racist history of Blackface.
“The fact that this racist behavior persists is simply an indication that our racist history is not past, basically,” Matthew Osborn, associate professor of early American history at UMKC, told Fox4KC.
“African-Americans, in our history, have been the most exploited, most marginalized group and yet African culture is inseparable from American popular culture. It’s at the heart of popular culture, music, sports, theater and film. That is something about American society and culture that we haven`t really come to grips with. Why is it that the racial divisions that exist here in Kansas City exist while we all enjoy so much of African-American culture?” he added.