It’s just insensitivity

Or ignorance. Or unintentional offense. Or freedom of speech. What it is not, apparently, is racism or racial discrimination.

From the Kansas City Star comes the story of an African American graduate student who is suing the University of Missouri-Kansas City because her professor addressed her with the “n-word” and other expletives.

Prior to the lawsuit, graduate student DeLana Sattarin filed a complaint with the university. Two other students in the class also wrote letters about the incident. So what happened next?

The report says that while being interviewed by the UMKC Affirmative Action Office, Singelmann admitted to using the N-word several times but said “he was using it to make a point within the class discussion about freedom of speech.”

Also during the interview he “expressed regret for having hurt and offended students of the university,” according to the report.

While the report says “there was insensitivity” on the part of Singelmann, the Affirmative Action Office could not substantiate the claim of racial discrimination.

You see that the n-word has been completely removed from its history of discrimination and oppression. Now it’s just about “insensitivity” and “hurt” and “offense.” Meaning, of course, that people of color are just too sensitive and too easily hurt and too easily offended.

A comment appended to the article mentions the following:

The lawsuit actually says that the professor said what if i called you the n-word in reference to a free speech discussion, This is very different than referring to the student as the N-word.

I couldn’t find the lawsuit online, so I couldn’t verify this. But even so, this strikes me as a way to use the slur while claiming you were completely innocent of any wrongdoing and that it was just “misunderstanding” on the part of the student. Because she doesn’t have the ability to grasp the complex free speech argument, of course.

Got it? Insensitivity. Hurt. Offense. Misunderstanding. Those people. Rinse and repeat.

2 thoughts on “It’s just insensitivity

  1. The professor is in the wrong here I think. The approach could have been different to make his point.

  2. Normally I wouldnt comment on an old post, but I had to. This is my freaking alma mater! I’ve never heard of this professor, so I can’t comment on his demeanor, but its embarassing to hear this coming from my college.

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