The N-word. A word that will always have a history of slavery, oppression and racial discrimination against people of color in the U.S., often used to be nothing more than a term that degraded black people. The N-word, for recent generations, has been taken from a word that oppressed black people to a word of endearment which meant changing the narrative. Taking the word that used to dehumanized black people and turning it to a word that we own.
When people of other races ask for the “N-word pass,” it’s considered offensive. Being black is not just being able to say the N-word. It’s having to deal with society telling us that we don’t belong. Telling us that black women aren’t beautiful, that the color of our skin is too dark. Being black is having to carry the history of slavery. Being black these days means having to protest because another human that is black has been shot due to racial profiling. Being black is not just being able to say the N-word, it’s fighting for equality for our race.
Referring to sophomore Olivia Reynolds’s piece on reformed learning, I feel as if we should do more as a school culturally and do it appropriately. This means making sure teachers understand every aspect of what they are teaching, not just learning it so that they can recite it to students.
I asked a few members of the KO community their opinions on the school’s cultural awareness. “Cultural awareness at KO is a factor of our community that is overlooked too much,” freshman Ely Alleyne said, “The KO community has to start being aware of all cultures and educate our community so that we can become culturally aware.” As a fellow student at KO, I agree, but the question is: What should we do? What are the ways that we can change the curriculum so that we can be more culturally aware?
“It is often looked upon as the ‘job’ of minority students to educate others about their culture when this is not the case,” Olivia said, “Cultural awareness should be integrated into the curriculum for students and also into professional development for the faculty.”
Right now I feel as if we should add classes talking about how to be culturally appropriate. Right now we are talking about things that we already know, like speaking about our feelings. Although topics like these are important, they are things that we already know.
Overall, KO and its students need to step up regarding cultural awareness. Students asking for the “N-word pass” show a lack of understanding when it comes to the history behind the N-word and why it is offensive to ask for it. When you ask a black person for the N-word pass, you’re asking that person to speak for the entire race. That is something one person could never do, and that is something that KO students need to recognize.