Tag Archives: racial slurs

'Huckleberry Finn' and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Banned from School Curriculum in Duluth, MN

‘Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Banned from School Curriculum in Duluth, MN

In an effort to be considerate and sensitive of all students, schools in Duluth, MN will drop two classic American novels “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and the Pulitzer Prize winning “To Kill a Mockingbird.” from it’s curriculum.

Both books which contain racial slurs, will no longer be required reading in the district’s English classes next school year.

Michael Cary, director of curriculum and instruction for the district. “Conversations about race are an important topic, and we want to make sure we address those conversations in a way that works well for all of our students. We’re doing this out of consideration of the impacts on our students and specifically different groups of students in our schools, and especially our communities of color.”

Stephan Witherspoon, president of the Duluth chapter of the NAACP, called the move “long overdue.”

The literature has “oppressive language for our kids” Witherspoon said, and school should be an environment where children of color are learning equally. There are other novels with similar messages that can be taught, he said.

“Our kids don’t need to read the ‘N’ word in school,” Witherspoon said. “They deal with that every day out in the community and in their life. Racism still exists in a very big way.”

Is It Ever Okay To Re-Appropriate Homophobic Slurs?

Because of the slow news day on account of the holiday, I wanted to do an opinion piece on homophobic words. I’ve had this debate with fellow gay men so many times and last night was no exception: Is it ever okay to take a word used as a derogatory term against a group or community you belong to and reclaim it? You know the one I’m talking about: the three letter one  that starts with an F and ends in G; the one used to express that because you’re gay, that you’re somehow weaker, not man enough, or even less than human.

An associate of mine thought it was okay to use homophobic terminology with me during a lighthearted and jokingly matter, and I was not amused. Yes, I know words only have as much power that you give them, but the messenger of such words can be just as influential on how it makes you feel. He said that it was a term of endearment, but all I felt was dismay, and quite frankly, I got pissed off. I asked him why, as a gay man himself, he felt that he could use that word at me? He said that because of the fact that we’re gay, that we “own” that word. That since it’s used against us, we can take the word and make it our own. To me, that is complete and utter bullshit.

The incident did, however, cause me to reflect on the concept of re-appropriating, or re-claim and reassign the definition or meaning, of words used against us in the community. Can we reappropriate words? I mean I’ve heard the same re-appropriating words rhetoric with a common racial slur against African Americans…do you think it will ever be okay to use that word to describe me? NO. So why the hell would it ever be okay to call me a homophobic slur? See my point? There’s no difference between them. It will ALWAYS have a negative connotation and history.

Yes there have been news of reappropriating  of racial words several years ago and you know what? The words still has just as much negative connotation then it did then, maybe even more so. Some believe that usage of these words in song lyrics like, Frank Ocean, who recently came out as bisexual, use both racial and homophobic slurs in their music is okay. Others feel that we can’t reclaim words still used negatively, and I emphatically agree.

Honestly, I don’t believe that it’s possible once the word is used for a negative purpose, the m eaning is forever changed. I feel the same way about any rackial, ethnic, or whatever word is used. iIt’s why I refused to use it in the entirety of this article. Yes I kn0w that we have free speech, but it isn’t always so free, and there is ALWAYS consequences, both negative and positive, to our words. Just a thought…

So I ask you fellow readers, will it ever be okay to use homophobic slurs as a term of endearment?