Wrong method, right message

Teacher's noble intent gets tangled in political correctness

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It seems paradoxical, but we don’t think it is.

We feel that while society desperately needs to be more civil, at the same time we should chill a bit and give one another a little more room to be inappropriate.

Especially when it might be appropriate to be so.

Lori Myles, a language arts teacher at T.W. Josey Comprehensive High School in Augusta, was reprimanded this week for using handouts to – get this – discourage students from using the “N” word.

You read right. She’s been reprimanded for trying to tamp down the casual, even affectionate, use of the “N” word among black youths.

Even the school district, in its letter to Myles, acknowledges that her intent was to “shame these students by indicating their behavior was an affront to the memories and brave examples of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.”

Myles probably went overboard, to be sure. For one thing, her handout repeated the word several times. And the district alleges she gave the handout to a select few students and asked them to sign a pledge stating, “I have this letter because my actions, my life and my ways show that Martin Luther King wasted his time! Thanks for nothing, My (N-word)!”

Still, her intent was noble. And, as she notes, the same word can be found in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – over 200 times.

We fear a day – perhaps we’re already there – when teachers, and all others in society, are so afraid of saying the wrong thing that they end up saying nothing of value. We fear that political correctness has gone over the line more than Ms. Myles did.

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Darby 03/17/13 - 12:01 am
And Hank....

you were right, that was truly typical.

Anything to maintain the status quo.

When a word, any word is put off limits simply because some shadowy power deems it (potentially) offensive, then that's one more nail in the coffin of free speech.

How are we to communicate if there are areas we are required to mutually exclude before we even begin a dialogue?

Let's all walk on eggshells shall we?

QwertytrewQ 03/21/13 - 09:02 am
Darby - Hank nor other Blacks

Darby - Hank nor other Blacks created the problem.

MrWilli 04/08/13 - 05:13 pm

The 'N' word was specifically invented as; specifically intended to be, a grave and ultimately racist insult. It is just that. If you do not yet understand what African-Americans, kids included, have attempted by their own use of that word, the very least you can do is to keep opinions to yourself. Better, in fact; just shut up.

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