This Teacher Should Probably be Fired

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.


  1. DC TEACHERJuly 13, 2007

    MOCO schools are NOT part of the DC school system. Yes, MOCO and their yuppie parents is screwed up, but trust me, in DCPS all literature read is African-American lit, starting with Langston Hughes and Zora Neal Hurston. I hate when people blame DC for their crappy suburban neighbors.

  2. AnonymousJuly 13, 2007

    The kids in DCPS can't read To Kill a Mockingbird, becuase they simply cannot read.

    By the way Rusty is a douche.

  3. AnonymousJuly 13, 2007

    Yet the Post prints "Redskins" in 100 pt. bold type on the front of the paper at least once a week.

  4. *yawn*

    Race realations and the shitty state of DC schools? There are hackneyed topics dude.

  5. Okay, but it's okay when Chris Rock gets on TV and says things to millions that basically disparage whites in the same way? Jesus. I'm so sick of this fucking double standard and reverse racism allowed in this country. Fuck that shit.

  6. Oh, please. First, Chris Rock got famous for throwing black people under the bus, not whites. Racial humor is so ten years ago anyways.

    And this isn't a professional comic. This is a teacher with a captive audience.

  7. Listen to the muppets...


  8. Well what did you expect, the teacher was named Al Jolson ::does a little softshoe right off the blog::

  9. Velvet, how can I say this tactfully. You are a cunt. Chris Rock is a comedian, not an authority figure to children.

  10. I am not really comfortable having people call Velvet a "cunt." That word should be saved for the worst of the worst (like Sen. Hutchison).

  11. I apologize.

    I retract "cunt" and replace with twat.

  12. If we’re talking about the same person: Senator Hutchison (Kay Bailey) is a cunt!!! I have a buddy in TX that owns a catering company that catered a lunch she attended. His waiter went to pour her more coffee and the bitch, in lieu of saying “no”, slapped his hand away. Not even kidding – true story. Nice.

  13. Hell, I went to Catholic school and my classmates and I took turns reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" out loud in sixth grade. Get over it already.

  14. You slipped up and referred to the MoCo system as Metro. I know it's your standard tirade to whip Metro, but that's jsut sloppy.

    And how am I not suprised that you went to private school?

  15. No slip-up. Re-read the quote. I summarized MoCo, DC, and NoVA. That's the Metro area, no?

  16. to kill a mockingbird IS required reading in moco. however, the county is incredibly spineless for dropping the lesson - i've seen it taught properly and i think it works very well. we also teach hurston and hughes, among many others, and my 11th grade students are reading huck finn over the summer - sans teacher guidance at all. in fact, our first unit in the fall is on the power of language.

    i won't say moco doesn't suck, because it is a rich parents' paradise, but that doesn't mean we're all racist assholes who can't teach context, either.

  17. having gone to schools in a suburban district that was 95% white (and 50% catholic) and in denny hastert's district, I'm positive that we never got in a protracted discussion of the n-word. that wasn't the point of TKAMB anyway, was it? hell, i once had a drivers ed teacher warn us against all the people we'd be on the road with like murders and homosexuals. i tried to complain and was told that i probably shouldn't bring it up. ah the late 80s in chicagoland, good times.

  18. yertle the turtleJuly 16, 2007

    Rusty is clearly laboring under the delusion that people give a fuck what he thinks.

  19. AnonymousJuly 16, 2007

    I agree with anonymous above...

    If they don't understand the book, it's not for lack of teaching ability (which is possible) or for lack of interest (more likely). It's because the students can't read.

    Because reading's not important. Nope. Standing around in dark parking lots at night pretending apartment complexes are dorms instead of homes, well, that's important.

  20. AnonymousJuly 16, 2007

    If I remember correctly, wasn't it Chicago that, as part of a city-wide book club thingie suggested that EVERYONE in the city read "Mockingbird?"

  21. AnonymousJuly 16, 2007

    I went to school in MoCo, and I read the book. We never had a discussion about the word, and whoever didn't feel comfortable saying the word didn't when we talked about it or read out loud. I'm not surprised that this turned out the way it did, the leaders of this system are so backasswards it's unbelieveable. I just gave up caring what they do because they are so dumb. Just pick something and stick with it, preferrably the right thing to do. Although, I do think that teacher should have been fired because that was really bad. This was very unusual, almost all of the MoCo teachers are levelheaded, it's just the leadership that has problems. All of the Montgomery County leaders make the biggest deal out of nothing, even if just a couple people complain. I really wish that some REAL people would run this county.

  22. nice post!

    situations like this should be used to teach the ignorant why we demand change in society...and to raise questions because no matter how it is spun, specific people can get hurt while others may not be hurt...