The Harm of Racial Slurs

The celebrity chef, Paula Deen, has stirred up another public discussion about race.  She admitted to using the N-word when managing her restaurants and has suggested a plantation themed wedding for her brother, complete with well-dressed black servers.  Although she awkwardly apologized by saying she’s just from another time, her cooking show was dropped from The Food Network.

What is typically missed in public dustups like this centering on the use of racial epitaphs is that it is not relevant whether the person intended to offend.  Rather, it is important to see that the usage of epitaphs is harmful because doing so sustains a disrespectful cultural image of the targeted group.  In this case, it maintains a degrading picture of black people in the public imagination.

Here’s the New York Times story on the racial conversation surrounding this controversy.

Monster’s University (Pixar, 2013)

Although I have yet to see this film, it sounds as if it contains interesting commentary about diversity.  This is from a review in Inside Higher Ed:

But more than a comment on college, Monsters University is a film about diversity, the innate differences between individuals, and the institutions and situations that help foster connections and understanding between those individuals. Which makes it fitting that the film is released today in the shadow of a potential landmark Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action expected to come next week.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed