cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Highlighted

TW: Racist Language at School

I moved to a new school about a year and a half ago. I was really shocked and angry hearing all these white teenage boys using the n-word, but I didn’t really say anything (I was too scared, and knew they probably wouldn’t care/listen). After a while, I suppose I just kind of started to (shamefully) block it out, although since the beginning of the new year (because I moved classes) it didn’t really seemed to happening at all. But recently I’ve noticed it a little. A guy I know from my group of friends said it when he was challenged to by another guy. He also mouthed it as some kind of “joke” and a guy I know and am actually pretty good friends with (who I’ve recently been on a few dates with) just kind of laughed at it (I’m not sure if he was scared to challenge it or just ignorant about it). They’re not bad or malicious people, but they’re ignorant about this kind of thing I guess. I’m not sure how to talk about it, but if I can’t challenge my friends about something who can I challenge? I feel torn - they’re my friends, and generally lovely people, but I don’t know what to do about this. I’ve got some friends that have challenged others boys about this, but not these ones (I’m not sure if they’ve been around when it’s happened).

Highlighted

Re: TW: Racist Language at School

TW: Discusses racism, n-word origin.

 

Hey @Clementine75, thanks so much for sharing Heart It sounds like you are in a really difficult situation. It can be hard to challenge those close to us and it can make us feel torn. I have definitely been in a similar situation and would expect that most of us have too. It is really great that you have raised this issue and it is awesome that it is something you are reflecting on. Calling out people is often what is needed for people to be aware of their actions and to change their behaviour.. especially if we are apart of the white community. White people have the luxury of choosing whether to approach these issues, though those affected by it have no choice. If you think about it.. if people make a joke and others laugh, it gives them encouragement that what was said was funny. If people were to express that it is not funny and is actually a racist remark, the person is going to be more likely to realise the impact of what they have said.

 

There really isn't a wrong or right way to confront someone, though it will depend on how safe you are feeling with approaching the issue. You could start by mentioning how uncomfortable it is making you feel but also WHY it is not ok to use this word (e.g what does it mean, where has it come from, who does it effect). You could also Google and YouTube the origins of the word so that you can support your feelings of discomfort. Please keep in mind that exploring racism and the n-word may be triggering and confronting - look after yourself when diving into heavy topics. There is also an Instagram post here which has some general tips and other resources for talking about racism - if you are unsure of what some of the phrases mean, you can also Google them. It can be easier to educate other people with facts, especially if you feel as though they are less likely to care or take it seriously. The following is an example of the origin of the n-word: 'the n-word defined, limited, made fun of, and ridiculed all Blacks. It was a term of exclusion, a verbal reason for discrimination. It strengthened negative stereotypes' (AAREG Website). This type of information begins to highlight the effect that this word has AND still does on the Black community. You know your friends best, so you can decide what language and facts are going to send the clearest message.

 

We are here if you need any support Heart

Highlighted

Re: TW: Racist Language at School

Hey @Clementine75 

 

It can be really hard to confront people when they use slurs...

Especially if you're not a confrontational person to start with.

But you're right, it's not okay for them to be saying things like that.

 

Sometimes it can help to ask questions. People can get defensive if something looks like a challenge, but if you phrase it as a question it can cause them to self reflect.

For example "Why did you say that?" "What's funny sorry?".

 

One thing that might really get them to stop is "What does that word actually mean?" 

Don't ask it as a rhetorical question, get them to think about it and explain it to you. Hopefully that will confront them with what they're actually saying, and the history behind it, without causing them to shut the conversation down.

Highlighted

Re: TW: Racist Language at School

Hey @Clementine75,

 

I just want to pop up here and say I agree with @Tiny_leaf and @Taylor-RO. I'm so sorry that you've been put in an uncomfortable position. I understand it must be hard for you because you're hurt by their words, but they're your friends who are otherwise nice people. I want you to know we're here for you and please update us on how things go and what you choose to do. Heart

Highlighted

Re: TW: Racist Language at School

@Clementine75  I'm so sorry that you've had to deal with hearing slurs at school. Smiley Sad I think you have a lot of empathy in recognising that these individuals aren't just people, and sometimes we can be racist without meaning to be.
Depending on your relationship with these people and whether it is safe to do so, you could choose to show them some relevant resources to help educate them about respectful language. We also have an article on the ReachOut website about how to have difficult conversations. I think the other suggestions in this thread are great too!

Highlighted

Re: TW: Racist Language at School

@Clementine75  I'm so sorry to hear that you have been having these experiences. I think everyone has put in some great suggestions and resources, please let us know how you go and keep us updated. If I can add my bit, I'd say another thing to give a Google would be the "call in" technique- it's assertive but inclusive, and can be adapted to many social situations. You can read more here: https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/01/guide-to-calling-in/#:~:text=Much%20like%20calling%20out%2C%20c.... In today's social climate, having this in your 'toolbox' can be a great way to dismantle racism at the individual level!

Highlighted

Re: TW: Racist Language at School

Hey, so since I last posted on here, I’ve thankfully not really heard anyone else using the n-word. Thanks so much for all the advice though, I’ll be prepared if it does happen.

Highlighted

Re: TW: Racist Language at School

Hey @Clementine75, it is great that you have had that experience but are feeling prepared for if things change.

Also, thanks for sharing everyone! It is amazing that we have been able to open up this dialogue. I like the article you have included @Tay100, I haven't heard of that term before and I really love the intention behind it.
Highlighted

Re: TW: Racist Language at School

I'm glad that they've stopped @Clementine75! Smiley Happy Let's hope it stays that way.
Let us know if you need any more support. Heart

Highlighted

Re: TW: Racist Language at School

@Taylor-RO  cheers, I really wish they taught these things in school !