Boy oh boy! Things are so crazy right now. I just had an experience recently that I’ve never had to deal with. Something happened at work that I definitely was not expecting, especially with it being the week of inauguration and MLK Day.
To give a little background, I teach. I teach English Language Arts (ELA) at a title 1 charter school. If you don’t know what title 1 is, basically, over 50% of our students come from low economic backgrounds. The student population is mostly Latinx, followed by African American, and then Caucasian. So it’s a school with a population that I’ve been around most of my life, being from Miami. I teach sixth grade so my students are between the ages of 10 (yes your read that right) and 12.
Anyway, I have a white Hispanic student who I have been having issues with. He speaks mostly Spanish but he does understand English. He likes to play around on the school iPad and play games instead of working on his assignments. He doesn’t complete any assignments and I always have to redirect him. He says horrible things about me in Spanish and when I say horrible, I mean it. The ESL teacher tells me all the time when he says something disrespectful about me (she even yells at him in front of me when he says something rude). He has erased things I’ve written on the board while I stood at the door during transitions (they make us stand and welcome the kids in/monitor the halls), he’s stuck crayons in my diffuser, he poured half of my bottle of sanitizer on my papers, like it’s safe to say that he’s a turd. I notified parents…behavior hasn’t changed. I’ve written him up…behavior still hasn’t changed.
This week while I was reading my messages in my inbox from my students, I see a message to me sent front the student. In that message he called me the N-Word. Now granted he kinda spelled it wrong, there was no mistaking what it was. I was appalled and hurt. I immediately wrote the student up for offensive speech, sent a pic of it to his parents, admin, and ESL teacher, and I shared the pic with my CRT (mentor at work). I couldn’t show emotion because I was at work when I saw it. Even now, I have to pretend like everything is fine when deep down inside, it’s not fine.
Some may say oh he’s a child, who cares? I care! It’s a big freaking deal! That word is such an ugly and dirty word. It’s hurtful. It’s disrespectful. And like, yes he’s a kid but he knew what he was doing. He knew what he was saying. I can see if he sent it to a white teacher but no, he sent it to me, and African American woman! That is a word people use to demean a person. Back during segregation, white people used that word. Back in slavery, it was really used a lot. It’s disgusting and shows just how much hate someone has in their hearts to call someone that. It’s just freaking wrong! That’s like calling a black person a coon or referencing monkeys when you refer to black people. It’s just not right.
I don’t know what his punishment will be. I haven’t heard much from admin about it. I’m trying to give them time and then I’ll ask them about it some time this week just to see what they’re going to do about it. Will they just give him a slap on the wrist and keep it moving? I have no idea. I hope not, but honestly, you never know. I’m just so disappointed but unfortunately, there’s a lot of hate in the world.
No one is born racist, it’s taught. Maybe his parents or family memeberrs talk like that act home. Who knows? Which just kills me because, I was never raised to be racist at all. I was raised in a diverse neighborhood. Hell, when we go to the family reunion on my grandpa’s side, there’s a rainbow of colors. Lots of mixed raced couples and children. It’s not that we “don’t see race”. We see it and embrace it.
Some may say, “but you say it in songs all the time”. No. I don’t like it in songs. I have a lot of views that I just don’t agree with and some could call me out for trying to be “white” but fuck that! At the end of the day, when people see me, they see a black woman. I get the same treatment as anyone else, I just refuse to answer to that type of name. I mean, when I was younger, it was normal talk and all the kids called each other that all the time. I will never forget though one time when this one girl called my friend “a black bitch”. If she was to just say “you bitch” okay but “black bitch”? No. That’s another level right there. Total disrespect.
Let’s just try to just do better y’all.