Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Cough medication and lucid thought do not go hand in hand! Yesterday was a weird day - about the time the fog cleared up in my head I started coughing again. I think I will just stay with the coughing today so I can get some work done.

I have been working on the discussion board questions for my classes and responding to a couple of YALSA-BK emails. The students discuss the educational value and use of historical fiction and other materials that have non-PC terminology in them. Someone on YALSA-BK mentioned The Land by Mildred Taylor as being a book that was pretty tame and shouldn't cause controversy. However, while doing a librarian in-service I had a librarian get upset with me - told me I was unprofessional and offended her - after I voiced the term white nigger while doing a booktalk for Mildred Taylor's The Land. This is a wonderful book, the prequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. But, it is about a bi-racial man - the son of a plantation owner and a slave, and he is referred as a white nigger by some of the slaves. There are lots of racial slurs and other terms that are not appropriate for regular conversation, but I was trying to make the point that this is a book that should be read before being used with students, as should any book. No one wants to get blindsided by a controversial passage you weren't expecting. An individual's leisure reading and books being used in a classroom are two different things.

My parting thought/question for the day: What I find interesting is that this term is often written as n***** and everyone knows what it means. Or they say "the N word" rather than voicing it. My question is - does refusing to say nigger or write it give it more power?