Should Schools teach about the "N" Word? (1 Viewer)

Optimus Prime

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this is a story that appeared in a local paper. But I've heard similar stories. An english class is getting ready to read To Kill a Mockingbird or Huckleberry Finn and have a discussion about the N word. Or a socialogy class is learning the history of the word and it's imact in society.

These classes are met with some understanding and some outrage.

Some think that it should be discussed and debated. Why is okay for blacks to use the word more or less freely and whites can't utter it?

As explosive and degrading as the word has always been throught it's history
How did the word become an almost term of affection among some groups of black people?

Is it even possible for a white person to say the word to a black person also as an affection, without being labeled a racist?

Is that they way it should be? Or, should nobody say it ever under any circumstances?

These are conversations that can be hard to have with a group of adults. It can be hard even with a group of black people, to say nothing of a racially mixed audience

Is it beneficial or inappropiate to have them in high schools?

If these discussions happen should it always be referred to as "the N word" or can the actual word be spoken?

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Use of ‘N word’ in lesson draws ire
School officials investigating English class meant to introduce ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’



A lesson on racially charged language deeply offended Maya Jean-Baptiste, and it showed in the tears in her eyes as the Quince Orchard High School ninth-grader told the county school board on Tuesday about the embarrassment she felt as her English class discussed ‘‘the N word.”

The lesson, part of a unit on ‘‘Linking Literature to History,” was in preparation for reading the novel ‘‘To Kill A Mockingbird.” Like other classic works of American literature, the Pulitzer Prize-winning coming-of-age novel about race by Harper Lee, set in a small Alabama town during the Great Depression, uses the racial epithet in its dialogue.............


http://www.gazette.net/stories/111506/montcou190710_31957.shtml
 

LSSpam

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I think a discussion would be extremely beneficial. Precisely because many younger whites hear the word in popular culture but haven't the slightest clue of the words historical context, they don't quite understand why it's derogatory. They understand blacks don't like it, but they don't know why. And not knowing why makes them substantially more likely to use it amongest themselves in what would be considered by many to be racist ways.

An explanation of the words cultural context and history may educate kids. Which is the point of school.

I don't see any drawback.
 

Three Monkeys

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Absolutely. I've been burned for using it here before, and I'm sure I'll get in trouble again today.

Recently I was having a conversation with an older friend who referred to "******s". I said nothing (actually was amazed). Later, I discussed this with a younger friend who couldn't believe people today use that, etc. But then I had the epiphany: this person isn't the problem; I am. I'm not man enough to stand up and let this person of their absolute wrongness and ingnorance.

I'm not man enough to say to people, "You're an ignorant ******." I'm not man enough to point out to people that when they are talking about black folks and using particular words, they are in fact most probably a racist. No, us white people make ourselves feel comfortable by saying "welfare queen" or "they" just like living like that or "they" are just a bunch of animals. We stand behind our closed office doors and make jokes, or sit at the dinner table and make comments about "those people" but then go to work the next day and "Presto, I'm not a racist."

I'm with LSSpam. Use the word. Let's discuss the word "******" in the public arena and see the level of discomfort white people feel. Let's let our kids discuss it in their classrooms so when the sit down to dinner with mommie and daddy they can have the conversation there and see just how uncomfortable daddy feels when little Bobby asks him "Daddy, why do you call black people "******?"

Ghandi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world". I think our kids are going to have to accomplish that task.
 

Rickboy

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Absolutely not, because ignorance is much more preferable to actually confronting our societies demons

/sarcasm...

Ignorance is the great creator of Prejudice. To cause one is to endorse the other.
 

System Shock

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Can't even type the word in the context of an intelligent discussion. Sad.
Like closing your eyes when the truck is going to hit you.

Words are harmless. It is the thought attached to words that harms (or elates). No word has any meaning other than the thought we attach to it. "Discussing the word" is fruitless. It is the thought behind it that needs to be discussed.
 

Saintman2884

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The problem with racism and especially with that word is that its hard to find a person who has a double standard, becuase it is easy for some people to hide their racist ways and still be that ordinary average guy who says he isnt a racist.
Sure we can talk about it here and be open about it, but some people know that the word is wrong and still use it becuase socieity is very down on it.

It goes like this: In the 1960's it was more open and more easier to see, but then a funny thing happened, the people that were saying the N-word figured out that saying that words hurts you, it hurts your career, your life too.

I think and some of you may disagree with me, but maybe our culture needs to encourage people to open up on why they say these things and try and change them, not by shaming them but by telling them their wrong in a peaceful way.

We have to change the racists ways by understanding its not just a white black thing, its a universal probem. We also have to change our discourse on how we view racism. some people think that its just folks who are rednecks will who say it., but many racists are smart people who have college degrees and know well enough to say it and when not too.
As long as you have scocietal taboo on certain words, racims will always find its way into people minds
 
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Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime

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also talk of schools dropping books like huck finn because of it
 

RebSaint

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The idea of simply not addressing the word, its use, and its historical, sociological, and political relavence in a classroom setting is beyond stupid.

Let's just adopt censorship regarding all those things which are controversial.
 

TURMINATOR

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My town in New Jersey is one of the most diverse in the state, and we have the privalege of taking an African American History class. It is a very relaxed class work wise with arguably the best teacher in the school. The class is completely integrated with hispanic, white, and black students. We have discussed the word on numerous occasions and watch films such as A Time to Kill (great film if you haven't seen it already). Although, I would say probabaly the whole class already knew the history of the word ******... it is still something that should be discussed in schools and the issues that surround it such as why black people can say it and think its cool but if a white person ever said it to a black person, there would be a fight. African American history hits the topics most history classes don't and I have probably learned more things in that class than any other class I have taken in high school.
 

Squeezebox

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Can't even type the word in the context of an intelligent discussion. Sad.

Andrus sends his apologies. With the changeover and everything, he has yet to install the java software that detects when the word is being used in an intelligent discussion, and when people are simply calling each other ******s.
 

SeminoleMarine

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Precisely because many younger whites hear the word in popular culture but haven't the slightest clue of the words historical context, they don't quite understand why it's derogatory.

Hard for them to understand when it is used so freely in the black culture. It is hard to understand why it is offensive when you hear many black people call each other that so-called "derogatory" word. It is in plenty of the rap songs, it is used in a lot of black comedians routines. It is even used in movies with black guys calling each other the name. It would be like me saying that cracker is offensive to me, but I go around calling all my white friends cracker. How can I be offended by a word I so freely throw around? Doesn't make much sense. I understand the context of the word and I know the negative aspects of the word. It is a word that is not allowed in my house. Growing up, I had to hear the word more than I care to admit to. What I don't understand is why the black community throws it around so freely, yet they claim to be offended by it if anyone else uses it. Kind of hypocritical. Seems to me if it offended you that much, you would do everything in your power to not use it. Maybe someone can enlighten me.
 

saintfan-n-alex

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the problem with discussing it in schools is that it cold lead to big trouble should the talk go down the wrong path - if you saw the PC with paull rodriquez yesterday you saw what it caused among adults on national tv.

IMO - if the word is that insulting, it shouldnt be used by anyone, to have one group or race use it freely with affection and then have it cause violence or harm if a person from another race says it is too fine a line to cross, especially when the goal of the country is to have all races live in harmony. and the word is used in music, and arts that all races enjoy.

so if the word is insulting it should be considered a curse word and be censored on tv and music in the same regards as other words, if the word is going to be used by a large majority of the population, then the people that take offense to the word should just "ignore" its meaning or its past offensive context and treat it as just another word - bacially take the offense out of it but redefining what it means in regards to the past and present.

but to teach it in schools means teaching kids, you cant say it, they can - so it will always be offensive.
 

System Shock

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Andrus sends his apologies. With the changeover and everything, he has yet to install the java software that detects when the word is being used in an intelligent discussion, and when people are simply calling each other ******s.

Just to clarify, I didn't mean it like that.
What I meant is that a euphemism (I think "the n word" qualifies as such) has to be used when discussing the word, not that you can't literaly type the word on this site.

Seems some other Java software is missing. :)
 

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