Human Rights Nonsense (42): The Unbearable Lightness of Racial Sensitivities

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human rights nonsense



I’m very much opposed to hate speech, and also keenly aware of the effects of language on human rights (see here and here for instance). I’m therefore also in favor of moral rules against people calling each other “nigger” for example. However, this story is a good illustration of how taboos such as these can be taken too far:

A Bronx teacher has filed a lawsuit claiming she was fired for using the word ‘negro’ in class. “Negro” is the Spanish word for the color black.

Petrona Smith … says … that she was fired from teaching at Bronx PS 211 in March 2012 after a seventh-grader reported that she’d used the “N” word, according to The New York Post.

Smith doesn’t deny using the word. But she argues that everyone uses it, when speaking Spanish. She was teaching the Spanish words for different colors, and the color “black” in Spanish is “negro.”  She also taught the junior high school students, in this bilingual school, that the Spanish term for black people is “moreno.” And by the way, Smith, who is from the West Indies, is black. (source)

Here‘s a similar and perhaps even more ridiculous case.


  1. popaia says

    Human rights mean to send arms and money to islamic savages butchers “rebels” of Syria or to legalise sexual abusement against children or to fire a teacher because she used a not politicaly correct word. Psyko…

  2. Pingback: Racism (30): What Should We Call Non-White People, and How Do Names Affect Us? | P.a.p.-Blog // Human Rights Etc.

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