History professor is suspended for using the N-word in class

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tags: racism, language, education, historians

Augsburg University in Minnesota suspended a professor for using the N-word during a class discussion about a James Baldwin book in which the word appeared -- and for sharing essays on the history of the word with students who complained to him about it.

The case concerns academic freedom watchdogs on campus and off. The professor is just one of several to recently be sanctioned -- unofficially by students or officially by administrations -- for using the N-word in class. So one might also ask if there is ever reason to use a word so loaded.

Even now, Phillip Adamo (at right), the suspended professor of history and medieval studies at Augsburg, answers yes.

“I see a distinction between use and mention,” Adamo said Thursday. “To use the word, to inflict pain or harm, is unacceptable. To mention the word, in a discussion of how the word is used, is necessary for honest discourse.”

Read entire article at Inside Higher Ed

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