Another N word that has fueled the aforementioned N-word is “NOTHING!”
It’s the filthiest, dirtiest, nastiest word in the English language,” was the view of prosecutor Christopher Darden when the issue of saying the N-word came up in the 1995 murder trial of US football star OJ Simpson.
In Quebec The N-word has nauseatingly become the topic of lively debates in recent days, starting with the suspension of a University of Ottawa professor for using the derogatory term in class, followed by Montreal High School teacher Vincent Ouelette who was recorded using a racial slur multiple times, claiming it was for educational purposes in a context that was “purely historical.”
Now two English school boards in Montreal—English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) are pulling high-school history workbooks with a racial slur in them from their curriculum, after it was revealed that the books contained the offensive ‘N-word’.
Calls for removal of the book was swift, however, the responses differed.
The Lester B. Pearson School Board confirmed the total removal of the book from its Secondary 4 curriculum, while the EMSB, is temporarily collecting the books to place labels inside each one blocking out the n-word and explaining why it is doing so.
The word was used in reference to a book by a spokesperson for the radical separatist FLQ group that compared what French-speaking Quebecers experienced in the 1960s to what African Americans endured during the civil rights movement in the United States. Quebec’s Ministry of Education says teachers are free to decide which teaching materials are appropriate for their classroom.
The acts are just examples of the racism that still exists in Quebec even in this 21st century. Talk what you may, protest as much as you like, but the first two letters of the word already speak for themselves and addresses the issue—R- eluctance A-lways (C –I-S–M). The
The N-word is a multi-faceted word, and had it been human it would have been the offspring of a homonym (words that have the same meaning, but spelt differently) and a polysemous (a word that has multiple meanings). All of it relates back to slavery. Whites called all of us n, a demeaning term derived from a race of people labeled: negroid. Centuries later, slavery is ended; yet, racism remained in the veins of many. No degree of appropriating can rid it of its blood-soaked history.
As a community, the non-use of the N-word should be a no brainer. Blacks must be all on the same page about this because collectively, whenever the word is openly used by any person of color, it serves as a reflection on the entire race of people. No matter whose mouth—Black or non-black—the N-word idiom flows from, nothing cerebral, honorable, dignified, prideful or self-respectful exists from being submissive to and tolerant of its use.
Additionally, measures should be instituted to ensure that this word that comes laden with these complicated and contradictory emotional responses to it, has no place in our students’ vocabulary, for even the most cursory research would reveal its long, ugly, and sordid history in our nation.
Our students must know and understand that. School staff must know and understand that. I think schools can and should play a transformative role to create safe spaces for learning free of hate, bigotry, and harmful language, and teachers follow suit.
If we do nothing, nothing will change. not even the N-word.