09 Feb RHS Student Wants to Take the N-Word ‘Out of People’s Vocabulary’
Commentary, Markeith Anderson | Photos by Kiraa Easter
At Richmond High, where I go to school, a student said the n-word to a Black teacher. You may have seen the video. Things got physical, and the teacher, who was a substitute and a football coach, got fired. That word gets thrown around at Richmond High, and my fellow Black students and I want it to stop.
It all started Jan. 23 when the teacher asked the young man to put his phone away, and he refused to listen to the teacher. They were exchanging words when the student, who is Hispanic, used the n-word in a sentence directed at the teacher. The teacher got offended and said, “Say that word again” and got up in the student’s face. The student shoved the teacher and said some words to the teacher, who then grabbed the student and threw him to the floor. After the student got up, the teacher told him to get out of his class and shoved him out of the room.
I found out about the situation later, and I was disappointed because the student used a slur and no one really cares. People are so blind to it that it makes me upset. It’s like we’re poisoned.
That same night, one of the Black Student Union presidents posted on Instagram that there would be a peaceful protest during fifth period. That morning, he went to the head of the BSU and explained to her what he was going to do. The Black Student Union got involved and supported him heavily. One student passed out flyers she created to all the teachers, explaining what happened Jan. 23.
During the protest, people walked around the school chanting, “We stop, you stop” for about an hour — as in “stop saying the n-word.” Then, students gathered and people spoke about the situation and the use of the n-word on campus.
Our protest matters because this has been a problem for years, and it makes students uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable because every time it’s said, it makes me think about how that word was used to make us to feel less than human. It’s like calling someone a dirty animal.
Students use the word like it has no meaning behind it, but it’s really a word of hate used to put Black people down.
BSU Director Kiraa Easter and I went on KMEL Street Soldiers on Jan. 29 to talk about the situation. The BSU wants change within RHS and other schools with the same problem and wants others to join the movement. We want everyone to hear our voices. We want to stop the use of the n-word in rap music and take it out of people’s vocabulary.
I think people that say that it’s OK for them to use it because it’s in rap. It’s really not OK. In my opinion, rap is the reason why the word gets tossed around by everyone. I’m going to try everything in my power to stop it.