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Of Mice and Men and the N-word

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Claudia Grubbs

on 30 January 2019

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Transcript of Of Mice and Men and the N-word

Derogatory Terms: Of Mice and Men
Starting in chapter 2 of our current novel,
Of Mice and Men
, the "n-word" is used repeatedly when referring to the stable buck worker on the ranch.

As we move forward, it is IMPERATIVE that we do NOT use the word but rather refer to it as the "n-word."

While the use of the "n-word" is cruel and harsh, we cannot run from the classic literature where it is used. In 9th grade, the word appears throughout our novella and next year it appears in the novel,
To Kill a Mockingbird.

For these reasons we need to understand the implications of using this word and the cruelty it has caused. First, we will watch a debate on the usage of this word.
Derogatory Terms
A derogatory term is one that intends to detract, or belittle another person or group of people. It is meant to be intentionally offensive.

1. Have you ever been called a derogatory name/term? How did that name make you feel?
2. Why do people call others derogatory names? What are the consequences of labeling people that way?
I can define derogatory terms in my own words

I can label derogatory terms within classic literature

I can identify the cruel feelings derogatory terms can cause others by labeling those feelings

I can understand the ways in which different groups of people define words differently after reading the article and viewing the video
Gloria Naylor: A Word's Meaning Can Often
Depend on Who Says It
1. In a sentence, who is Gloria Naylor and why is she credible to speak on the topic of the "n-word"?
2. According to the author, when the "n-word" is used in the singular, what does it mean?
3. According to the author, when the "n-word" is used with a possessive adjective by a woman, what does it mean?
4. When used as a plural, how does the meaning of the word change?
5. Historically, the "n-word" has been used to degrade and render someone worthless, but what does Naylor argue the black community has done with the word?
Dr. Peterson vs. Jason Whitlock
Dr. Peterson is an African-American assistant professor of English at Bucknell University. He is well respected for his work his expertise in Cultural Literature.

Jason Whitlock is an African-American columnist for the Kansas City Star. He also is a regular on FOX Sports both as a columnist and as a radio host.

Both have very set ideas about the use of the N-word. Listen to their arguments and rationale regarding the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and their burial of the N-word.
Of Mice and Men
Dr. Peterson vs. Jason Whitlock
1. Julian Bond, active member of the NAACP, doesn't believe this "funeral" will in fact lay to rest the "n-word." However, what two things does Bond want the world to know?

2. Micheala Angela Davis believes the NAACP's intentions are good but argues the message falls short. What does she believe the NAACP should be doing with their energy?
Jason Whitlock vs.
Dr. James Peterson
1. What is the Jason Whitlock's argument regarding the use of the n-word?

2. What is Dr. James Peterson's argument regarding the use of the n-word?

3. Who do you agree with and why?

Dr. James Peterson
7. What is the main point to Dr. James Peterson's commentary?
a. the NAACP is the right group to lead this change of behavior within the African American community
b. the NAACP should be spending their time reconnecting to the African American youth and focus on the true problems hindering blacks such as poverty, crime and the broken education system
c. the NAACP should not be leading this change of behavior, but rappers and hip hop artists should be doing it in their music
d. the " burial" of the "n-word" takes away the history the black race has fought against for so long and you simply cannot erase decades of hate with a funeral
Final Thoughts and Questions
1. If I could provide you with a copy of this novella that didn't include the N-word, do you think I should? Why?

2. John Steinbeck has been accused of being a racist because of his usage of the N-word. Do you agree? Why do you think of this accusation?
Full transcript