WASHINGTON — The Education Department is getting social media criticism after misspelling the name of a prominent African-American sociologist — and then mistyping again when apologizing for the error.
In a tweet Sunday morning from its official account, the department attributed a quotation to W.E.B. DeBois (doo-BOYZ’), incorrectly spelling the last name with an “E.”
It immediately drew hundreds of responses mocking the department’s misspelling of the sociologist’s last name, which is correctly spelled D-U B-O-I-S.
By midday, the department had posted a new tweet with the correct spelling and an apology. “Post updated — our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo,” it tweeted, drawing a wave of fresh responses noting a second typo.
Soon after, the department corrected the word to “apologies.”
One commenter tweeted: “I love that your initial apology for a typo included a typo. We don’t need any further proof that DeVos runs this account,” referring to billionaire GOP donor Betsy DeVos, who was narrowly confirmed as education secretary last week with a tie-breaker vote by Vice President Mike Pence.
Others posted quizzical looks from African-American students.
Another tweeted: “Smooth move during #BlackHistoryMonth.”
A spokesperson for the Education Department said Sunday the misspellings had been made by a longtime department employee. He said a new review process was being put in place with additional staff to prevent future tweet errors.