In 2017, you would hope that we had come far enough in society to know and understand that using the n-word is WRONG, and something you just do not use. Furthermore, you would especially hope educators across America would understand it and not attempt to rationalize using it. That, however, is not the case.
One Ben Franklin High teacher in New Orleans attempted to rationalize and explain that a white person using the n-word was acceptable. He was white. His students, however, shut him down, and it was also caught on video.
At the start of the video, you can see a young black man trying to get it through to his teacher, identified only as Coach Ryan on social media, that it is unacceptable for a white man to use the word.
‘That’s racist as sh*t. Why honestly can you not understand that that n***a is racist for a white man to say it to a black man? That’s f*cking racist.’
The young man then asked white students in the classroom if they would use the word. They said no.
The teacher then interjected and asked if the young man knew what a commoditized word is. When the young man asked for an explanation, the teacher explained.
‘That’s a word that is used so many times that it doesn’t mean its original meaning.’
The young man interrupted his teacher and said, “It’s used by black people.” The teacher responded that everyone used the word. The young man fired back, “No, you use it. Don’t say everyone.” The teacher then continued spewing the false and invalid rhetoric.
‘The word has become commoditized so that anyone can use it, and it’s not in the negative connotation.’
Shaking your head yet? The word is still used by white people in a negative connotation. If you need proof, go look at social media posts geared toward former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama. It is all one needs to see to know the word still holds a deep and ugly meaning to men and women across the nation.
The young man’s response was, “It’s a negative a** connotation.” The teacher reasoned that when a white person says the word it means the same thing as when black men say it in songs. When the young man argued that it had a different meaning the teacher snapped back, “That’s not true if you want the world to move on.”
The young man’s response?
‘F*ck this world.’
Again, the teacher tried to say no one used the word n****r. His student yelled, “You’re my f*cking teacher. Don’t say that sh*t.” The teacher then used the word saying he could be using it as part of a lesson plan. The student angrily hit his desk and asked the teacher to stop using the word. The teacher turned it around as if the student was overreacting and said, “You cannot go through life acting like a word can affect you.”
No. That’s not how that works. This isn’t just some made up word that people came up with and say flippantly. The word has hundreds of years of negative connotation to demean a race of people. African Americans are still marginalized, treated as the lesser, and discriminated against, and yes, the word is still used. Go look at the responses to the police brutalization of black men and women. There’s all the negative connotation you need.
Afterwards, students prepared to hold a sit-in at the principal’s office. However, they ended up having an assembly in the school auditorium to discuss the issues behind the word. According to The Times-Picayune, the principal Patrick Widhalm said the students had “…a very good dialogue about the difficulties and the issues that still exist around race, around identity, around the things that aren’t resolved.”
During the assembly a different male black student poignantly spoke on what it is like to be black.
‘For a white person to be white, being white is just your skin color, but when you’re black, it changes the whole way people perceive you and people look at you.’
The student then went on and used gender as an example.
‘It’s not just black people. Look at being a man… it’s just who we are. We’re just a man. We just have a penis, but look at being a woman. It changes the way people look at everything you do…’
He then used being gay as another example.
‘There’s so much more than that when you call a gay person the f-word, a woman the b-word, when you say the n-word to a black man… It’s not just a word when you say that.’
The auditorium erupted into applause.
The school is investigating and has commented they will take appropriate action.
There’s only one type of appropriate action in this case. Fire the teacher. Simple as that.
You can watch the exchange between the teacher and student in the video below.
Coach Ryan really lost his damn mind pic.twitter.com/2k2DUI16Ow
— lizzie mcguire (@ellienick2) May 4, 2017
Featured image screenshot from video.