Letters to the Editor

Alves deserves an apology from NKSD

The news of the principal of Poulsbo Elementary School returning to duty is another example of politically correct hypersensitivity run amok.

Claudia Alves, a respected long-time educator in the North Kitsap School District, was put on paid leave for discussing two words related to the black population. Both words are in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. One is an old derogatory slang term that nowadays is wrongly and most frequently used by black rap singers. A number of these award-winning “singers” rake in millions of dollars from sales of their music in spite of this. Who is buying this “music” and why are they not offended?

The second is a term that was used for decades as a racial identifier, included in memorable speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King. In fact, a long-time organization, the United Negro College Fund, Inc., still proudly carries this word in their copyrighted title and solicits and obtains millions of dollars from donors. According to a recent annual report, they received $167,085,418 during 2012 from contributors. Apparently these donors are not offended by the use of this word.

The hypocrisy is jaw dropping.

In a discussion in an academic setting, must we now spell out certain words in the dictionary letter by letter? A “mistake” indeed was made, which was putting Ms. Alves on leave for doing her job. She deserves a published apology from the school district.

William Rieger

Editor’s note: The use of the word “Negro” was not an issue. The issue was this: A student felt uncomfortable using the word Negro in a school play. The principal, in explaining how saying the word “Negro” was not like saying the N-word, used the actual N-word. She again used the N-word more than once in explaining to the student’s mother the reason why she used it in conversation with the student. She was advised by the school district not to use the N-word again in any context, but did when she called the child’s father to apologize.

Robert Boddie Jr. of the Community Leadership Coalition and Alliance said a growing number of African-Americans are indeed offended by the use of the N-word in rap music. But — and these are our words — as they work to bury oppression terminology, the rest of us do not have a ticket to perpetuate it.


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