By Nick McDaniels
Within the last two weeks, a Baltimore City Schools teacher, a young, white woman, was publicly terminated from Baltimore City Schools as a cell phone video surfaced showing her using the n-word in class.
To be clear, I am not posting this to criticize this teacher. I am not posting this to analyze the context of her use of the word. I am not posting this to attempt to interpret her intent. I am not posting to attack her. I am not posting to defend her. In fact, I am not posting about her at all, or her use of the word.
I am posting to state one simple principle.
A white teacher has no license to use the n-word. Ever. It matters not the context in which you teach. It matters not how many times you have heard the n-word, nor in how many different contexts, nor with how many different meanings. It matters not how strong your relationships are with your students. It matters not how many years of teaching experience you have had. It matters not whether you are in front of students, or colleagues, or your friends from college. A white teacher has no license to use the n-word.
It is a problem, to be sure, if the word is already in the vocabulary, already in the heart and soul, of a white teacher. It is a problem added thereto if a white teacher feels compelled to use the word. These problems can be mitigated, however, if this rule is placed in the minds of future teachers as soon as possible and reminded to veteran teachers as often as possible.
A white teacher has no license to use the n-word.