Friday, September 25, 2015

Sticks and Stones

ETA:  Since I wrote this a great piece in the New York Times addresses the issue, the use of the word that dare not speak thy name and the issue of what it means to be Black, to live in America and be black on TV.  And that speak I suggest you watch an old Sanford and Son of The Jeffersons to remind yourself that words in context and the meaning of that context is the distinct difference. So when a great playwright, August Wilson uses the "N" word, or a great writer such as Steinbeck does or Mark Twain, understand the context and the meaning and the intent of the user, the writer and the speaker and ask yourself if you understand the difference. 


A precious snowflake fell and it melted when it heard a "bad" word.

Funny the President used the word nigger in a discussion with Marc Maron about race.  It is in more song lyrics that I can twerk to but when it is spoken out loud in reference by any white person it is offensive.  I can only imagine the pearl clutching and gasping to the actual reading and printing out of said word. Does it offend you? Good. Does not hearing about it nor thinking that it existed make you feel better? Get over yourself and remind yourself that we use names for many reasons and that we need to know of their history and their purpose and in turn recall why we will not use them again for any reason.

This was in an Advanced Placement class and these are often the best brightest and most helicopter parented children. They are the ones going to college and have more access and in turn privilege than their counterparts.  They are often of many colors but they are more often white and/or Asian families, the kids that test well and behave well. I am not sure they are smart as we think or they think but they test well and in AP that is what matters most. Well it seems to matter regardless, we test kids like the little guinea pigs they are when it comes to Education.  .

So when I read this today I was not surprised.   Frankly,  it was a bad example of explaining why the name Redskins for a football team is considered racist and derogatory, and utterly dated as well as stupid but then again it's football, so what does one expect.  But what I found is the over-reaction by the school as is  typical frankly (see kid with the clock bomb)  but I wanted to draw attention to the term that the school used and comment that they need to "investigate" the matter.  Just that word alone implies a much more sinister meaning over someone being stupid.  Schools love to imply, infer and over react for fear of litigation, the idea of safety is not the issue in this case but we are seeing a hyper vigilance in ways that reflect zero tolerance when it comes to errors and that has led to a problem with discipline regarding children and particularly children of color.  So it all goes back that issue - race.

So is this really  about the children?  Must we protect the children from hearing words out loud even when not meant in the intent and we must also whitewash (pun intended) anything from history that demonstrated how we used language to demean and vilify individuals. We saw the uproar over the Confederate Flag which flew over State Capitals for years yet it too a mass execution to actually admit that it was to say the least in poor taste, you lost already, let alone the racial intones the flag evoked.  So now it is about language and words.   But as the adage goes "sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me."

And we know that children lie, they do things that are stupid to and they need to learn from that and learning by example is one such way.  So as kids get kicked out it only makes sense that Teachers do as well, really? Or how about the student and the teacher having a dialog with the family and the administrators as to the intent of the example, the use of language and meaning.  Open it to this advanced class of placed children as well with appropriate representatives there to ensure that the dialog is meaningful. But no let's kick a Teacher out, vilify her in the media and make sure she is promptly given the Scarlet Letter of "R" for Racist. 

Two years ago we had a Teacher here removed from his classroom as the subject matter of race and inequality upset a white student as he felt he was being portrayed as racist.  The entire curriculum was removed from the Teacher, the Teacher "investigated" and of course sent to another school to serve penance for a year for being a bad bad Teacher for upsetting a snowflake.

When does the book banning and burning commence?

Sorry but this is a Teacher using a bad example but are there any good ones.  Wops, Dagos, Chinks, Slant Eyes, Nigger, Bitch, Slag, Slut. There is an actual data base of ethnic slurs and a Wiki page dedicated to some even I have long forgotten, never knew or well ever heard of. 

One of the more famous and divisive ed reformers, Michelle Rhee, shared a story of her two fabulous years teaching for Teach for America. And that was when she duct taped kids mouth's shut for talking in class.  I have never felt compelled to do that to a student,  a well placed shut up (another forbidden term) often works. But I have felt compelled to do so to myself as I have always been a mouthy one.  And this is just another example that you cannot open yours even in a discussion to use language or present ideas that the snowflakes have found to be offensive and upsetting.  The precious flakes melt too soon

Teacher placed on leave for using racial epithet in lesson

Heritage High School teacher Lynne Pierce, who is white, was holding a classroom conversation during an Advanced Placement history class last week in which the students were discussing racism and derogatory terms.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — A Newport News, Virginia, high school teacher has been placed on administrative leave after using a racial epithet while discussing the use of derogatory names.

Multiple media outlets report that Heritage High School teacher Lynne Pierce, who is white, was holding a classroom conversation during an Advanced Placement history class last week in which the students were discussing racism and derogatory terms.

Pierce says a student asked her why some people object to the Washington Redskins football team’s name. She responded by comparing the name to a hypothetical sports team’s name, using a racial slur that refers to blacks.

Pierce says a student complained and she was placed on leave by school administrators after the school day ended.

Newport News Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Price said in a statement that officials are investigating the matter.

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