A White Chicago teacher sues after being suspended for using SPLC’s curriculum for right to discuss and say “N—–” word in Class.
A white Chicago school teacher who was suspended for leading a class discussion about the “N-word,” race relations and racism has sued the school district for what he sees as unjust punishment.
Lincoln Brown, 48, a sixth-grade writing and social studies teacher at Murray Language Academy, said he turned a bad classroom situation – in which one student wrote a rap calling another student a n***** – into “a teachable moment.”
“I looked at it and it had some words in it that were very offensive to me and that’s when we came into this discussion of the N-word,” Brown said of the October incident. “And I used the curriculum from the Southern Poverty Law Center, and followed their advice on how to tackle these kinds of problems, not to avoid them. The whole lesson basically was about racial profiling, racisim and also being very careful about how you use words in public.”
Let’s take a look at what the SPLC suggests as curriculum and classroom activities this link takes you to suggested curriculum and activities from the SPLC. I have listed some on the N-Word below. shera~
The n-word is unique in the English language. On one hand, it is the ultimate insult- a word that has tormented generations of African Americans. Yet over time, it has become a popular term of endearment by the descendents of the very people who once had to endure it. Among many young people today—black and white—the n-word can mean friend.
How did the n-word become such a scathing insult?
We know, at least in the history I’ve looked at, that the word started off as just a descriptor, “negro,” with no value attached to it. … We know that as early as the 17th century, “negro” evolved to “nigger” as intentionally derogatory, and it has never been able to shed that baggage since then—even when black people talk about appropriating and reappropriating it. The poison is still there. The word is inextricably linked with violence and brutality on black psyches and derogatory aspersions cast on black bodies. No degree of appropriating can rid it of that bloodsoaked history.
Most public school teachers are white women. How might they hold class discussions about this word? Do you think it would help them to lay some groundwork?
You might want to get somebody from the outside who is African American to be a central part of any discussion— an administrator, a parent, a pastor or other professional with some credibility and authority. Every white teacher out there needs to know some black people. Black people can rarely say they know no white people; it’s a near social impossibility.
What should teachers keep in mind as they teach about the n-word?
Remember the case of the white teacher who told the black student to sit down and said, “Sit down, nigga.” And then the teacher is chastised by the administration and of course there is social disruption. He said, “I didn’t say ‘Sit down, nigger,’ I said ‘Sit down, nigga,’ and that’s what I hear the students saying.” I’m thinking, first, you are an adult, white teacher. Secondly, do you imitate everything that you see and hear others doing or saying? At some level, there has to be some self-critique and critical awareness and sensitivity to difference. Just because someone else is doing it doesn’t mean that I do it even if and when I surely can.
His principal, Greg Mason, who is black, heard the discussion and came into the room to listen further, Brown said. Mason stayed for 10 minutes, and then left and came back 10 minutes later, as the discussion had turned to racial stereotypes in movies.
Two weeks later, however, Mason called Brown into his office and accused him of misconduct, specifically abuse of language in front of students and other charges, Brown said. Later, he was told he was receiving a five-day suspension.
Brown, shocked by the allegations and punishment, appealed to the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education, which denied his appeal.
“It’s something I can’t accept and can’t have on my record and more importantly it’s not who I am,” said Brown, who grew up in the neighborhood, attended schools where he was in the white minority and grew up to teach in predominantly African- American schools for more than 25 years.
Brown said he has taught many lessons, albeit more structured ones, on the use of the “N-Word” and other contentious race issues over the years, including teaching the book “Huckleberry Finn.”
He said he always used the advice given by the Southern Poverty Law Center to help guide the discussions about the word, and drew on those guidelines when the discussion arose in October.
thank you Malissa for the article
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