I guess there's some controversy in Montgomery County over the contextual use of the word "nigger." The word appears in a whole slew of high school level books and MoCo schools are having a discussion about the slur before its students dive into To Kill a Mockingbird and "Huck Finn." Hilariously, MoCo is giving its high school students more credit than The Washington Post is giving its readers. The Post continues to dance around the word "nigger" by calling it the "N-word." If ever there was a contextually appropriate time to use the word, it would be in the middle of a news story. I understand wanted to avoid offending people, but using coy nicknames only cheapens the story.
Of course, the Post could have a point since MoCo is shutting down this aspect of their curriculum. People complained. Of course, the reason for the complaint was more than just the use of the word. The teacher proved herself to be wildly racially insensitive.
The teacher, who is white, read aloud from the essay and asked students to mark the word each time it appeared. She imitated stereotypical African American body language and elocution, Maya [Jean-Baptiste, high school student] told board members, "moving her neck and pointing her finger."
Oh no she dinnnn't! *snap* *snap*
Can you imagine how horribly awkward that would be to see that. A white woman reading an essay with the word "nigger" playing up racist black stereotypes? Good God. Was blackface not available? No wonder people complained.
(By the way, am I the only one who went to a school that assumed people could handle the word without needing contextual exercises like this? Can students not differentiate literature from hatred anymore? Is this a public school thing?)
Here's the official rundown on how the Metro area handles this stuff:
D.C. parents may opt not to have their children read Lee's book, which is taught after a preparatory lesson on Jim Crow, civil rights and the justice system, according to John White, a spokesman for the school system. "Huckleberry Finn" is not taught in the school system. Arlington students read "Mockingbird" and "Huckleberry Finn," prefaced by lessons on epithets and "why the words are no longer used," said Linda Erdos, a spokeswoman for the school system.
Good God. You can opt out of one of the greatest examples of American literature? I'm sorry, but I can not think of a book that's more anti-racism than To Kill a Mockingbird. I hate being one of those people who complain about political correctness gone mad, but, Jesus Christ. TO KILL A FUCKING MOCKINGBIRD
MoCo should fire that teacher. She clearly can't handle the nuances of racial sensitivity. And DC should fucking grow a pair and make everyone read this classic novel. If students finish the book and decide its perpetuating racism, then, well, DC schools are more screwed than I thought.