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01 November 2007


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a Paperback Writer

Wait. The teacher was an idiot, so they're going to ban the book? Uh, yeah. Because that makes sooooo much sense.
Sigh. And Huck Finn again? Gee. Like it's never been banned before.


Shouldn't all of the students have felt uncomfortable with the word?

I also think some of the statements in the article indicate that the purpose of the teacher was to illustrate the power of the word - not to endorse it.

As a public we have no idea at all what actually happened, the tone the teacher meant to set before it all blew up and what was meant to be conveyed.

I am not so certain the student a) should be understandably upset or misunderstoond the situation and should be undestandably upset only in the concept of his misunderstanding or b) that if the situation was so blatant and obvious that other students should not be equally upset by it.

I just feel a sense of repression in the discussion that has made it to the article. Something is being unspoken and ignored completely. I don't know exactly what, but it is there. I feel the teacher is a bit of a scapegoat for a bigger problem here. My guess is that it is a pervasive distrust between whites and blacks in this community.

Literature and discussion could have been a healthy thing.


I do think that the purpose of the exercise was to illustrate the power of the word -- but it ended up backfiring when (according to the articles I've read, and that's all I really have to go on) a student ended up feeling singled out because after he expressed his feelings about it, the teacher continued to press him about it. And after that, the whole thing exploded. At the end of the article, it did sound as if the student himself is not opposed to reading the book -- it's the adults who have gotten involved who have turned it into a big mess.

Literature and discussion could very definitely have been a healthy thing, and I'm glad that (as far as I know, so far) the school isn't going to pull the book from the curriculum.


It certainly is obvious that the teacher's attempts did not go right, but I still think that the teacher was probably hoping that questioning could draw discussion out and in the end make the student feel more comfortable, not to say "Hey, you are the only black student in the class, how do you feel?" I don't know for sure either, but I still think this is a possibility. I still think there is more to this than just this incident, and I agree with you that it could have been handled better.

I don't disagree with you that the student would be undestandably singled out if the teacher meant malice or lacked sensitivity. I differ in that if she/he meant to enlighten than the actions of the teacher would be less questionable. The article only showed the viewpoint of the student and not the teacher. I assume the teacher is not speaking to protect his/her own interests - as it is still undecided if she/he will be sanctioned.

It was just the "idiot teacher" comment above that made me want to write a comment in defense of the teacher. A teacher willing to take risks to bring about understanding and growth should not be called an idiot. I don't know for sure that this was the case. I am just guessing. I am thinking there is a racial distrust at the high school and in the community, causing the teacher to wish to address it.


This sounds so much like a lesson I went through in a "sensitivity training" prior to beginning teaching. It was about gender issues and involved coming up with as many offensive terms about sexuality as one could think of, writing them all out and discussing them.

The point of the lesson is that this word is offensive. Students need to learn that.

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