Professor’s use of racial slur ignites uOttawa debate

Interesting debate. From my reading, the professor was using the word in the context of reappropriation by Blacks and not in a gratuitous manner, although she would have been wiser to say the “N-word.” On the other hand, in popular culture, the term has been used by rap artists as well as by directors such as Spike Lee, Tarantino and others. So should it always be off-limits or do context and intent matter?

The student union at the University of Ottawa is calling on University president Jacque Frémont to denounce a group of professors who defended the right to use “racial slurs” as a part of academic freedom.

The slur in question was the N-word, which was used by a part-time sociology professor last month in a Zoom discussion on language and the reappropriation of offensive words by groups such as people of colour, the disabled and the LGBTQ communities. In a statement posted online Sunday night, the University of Ottawa Student Union complained that the N-word remains “offensive, hurtful and reprehensible.”

Source: Professor’s use of racial slur ignites uOttawa debate

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

2 Responses to Professor’s use of racial slur ignites uOttawa debate

  1. Robert Addington says:

    Everyone agrees that this is a racist word. There is an important difference, however, between using the word as a casual pejorative, and in an academic context when quoting from a historical document or a work of literature.

  2. Andrew says:

    Fully agree.

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