High school teacher sent home after using the n-word during day of dialogue following racist and anti-semitic incident


So the use of the word in satire is OK, the use of the word by those traditionally derided by its use is OK, but the use of it in discussing the text of great literature is offensive?

Why don’t we just say that the use of it in a derogatory manner is wildly offensive and otherwise, the word should be reserved for thoughtful use and never aimed at a person?

There are other words in this category, too. John Leguizamo named one of his shows " Spic-o-rama", shall I be censored and hated for citing it?



“Thoughtful use.”

I think if white people put thought into it, they wouldn’t want to use it more than anyone had to, and you don’t have to to have a thoughtful discussion about 99% of things. Are you putting thought into your desire to see the word more in life, from white people’s mouths?

Because “thoughtful use” is what everyone is currently suggesting, and thoughtful use means almost zero good contexts for white people to use it, and none of those contexts are “dropping it like any other boring word”.



Criticism and rebuke are not censorship or hate.



No, but firing a teacher is. If I post the word in this discussion of it, I will probably be banned from the boards.



I’m merely suggesting that to say it cannot be used in discussion of racism, of literature, or the word itself, it has raised to a level of irrational hypersensitivity.

Be kind to people. Be respectful. Not hard to do those and still read and disscuss Ralph Ellison.



Your restraint is admirable. /s

Seriously though, this forum belongs to the proprietors of Boing Boing. We visit at their pleasure. Their property, their rules, just as you set the rules in your home or on a site belonging to you. Declining to give someone your platform is not censorship, it’s property rights.


Also, let’s not derail this with a generalized discussion. There’s a thread for that…



That’s not what this teacher was fired for.



News Flash: You can reference it, but there is absolutely no justifiable reason to say it verbatim in discussion. To make an extreme comparison, murder is referenced in courts of law all the time, but you don’t see prosecutors shooting someone in the jury just to prove murder exists.

Get out of here with that weak and clearly disingenuous argument.



I said it directly and purposefully when dealing with school administration.

My kids are 18, 16, and 11 now…and all three of them have been called n****r at each school level (elementary, middle, and high school). I looked directly at the principal and superintendent in the latest incident (my youngest in elementary) and said: “All 3 of my kids have been called n*****r in our schools and there seems to be zero repercussions or action taken by the administration to address it. Can you explain that to me?”

OFC they balked at my “flippant” use of the word and I then added “Also, your facial expressions and body language clearly inform me you do not like to hear the word n****r, now imagine you are an 11 year old boy being CALLED THAT!”



Dude… use the word if you want to use it; quit looking for “permission.” Frankly, saying that you “don’t want to” say it, but continually arguing that you ‘should be able to’ sounds like you’re just looking for excuses to justify casual, everyday bigotry.

Your privilege means that if you decide to you ‘punch down’ many people will consider you an asshole for it. Accept that reality, and then make your choices accordingly.

Bullshit argument/strawman is total bullshit; the teacher was disciplined for using a racial slur in school in front of impressionable kids, full stop.

Yet you seem not to understand how White people using racial slurs (even in context) is the exact opposite of those statements.

Say the word if you’re so pressed about it; just don’t be surprised by the negative consequences of your speech.



What?! People can hold me accountable for what the words that come out of my mouth?!?



It can be used in all those contexts. You’re not making sense.

Do that.

If you think the problem is that people aren’t saying it enough, you don’t strike me as a good judge of how often it should be used. If you want to be respectful, you should err on using it less than you presently want to. You know, just to be safe, kind, and respectful.



That tends to be the result when someone twists himself into a pretzel trying to turn a victimiser (like this teacher) into a victim.



Stop; you’re making entirely too much logical sense.



Agreed, certainly not government censorship. I’m not claiming to
have my rights violated. We’re all good people here (I’m pretty
sure) this is an academic discussion of how much harm a single
word can do in and out of context.

  There's a Catch-22 absurdity here:

  You may never say that word:

  What word?

  The one you cannot say.

  Can you write it?

  No, but I can tell you it starts with an "N"...


Are you really comparing saying a word to murdering a person? Do
you really think the irreparable harm caused by hearing the n-word
is comparable to death?

  Let's talk "disingenuous argument".


Don’t be so mean. He’s just asking questions.



But, but, but!

I mean, gasoline is flammable. Alcohol is flammable. Who wants some of my tasty gasoline margaritas!?!



Why don’t you, as a white person:

  1. Listen to what Mr. Coates said about that word
  2. Read what other people have written here in this thread about that word
  3. Don’t get upset because you can’t use that word
  4. Don’t get upset when other people use that word
  5. Stop asking why you can’t use that word
  6. Accept that you can’t use that word

And then,

  1. Don’t use that word.

It’s not difficult.



No, I’m comparing whether the logic of your argument is yes/no. There is nothing disingenuous about that.

The more you push for the right to say a word that victims of that word would like you not to say, the more it bolsters the idea that you’re arguing in bad faith.