Black West Indies Teacher Fired for Using Term “Negro” Suing

Petrona Smith is suing the school for firing her over the use of the word “negro” in her Spanish class.

Smith herself is black from the West Indies and was dismissed from her teaching position in a New York City school after a student complained that she used the word “negro” directed to a student. Smith has not been able to find other work since losing her job back in March 2012. At age 65, employment is not easy to find for many people.

Smith has hired an attorney because she believes she was treated unfairly and that she never used the word in such a context. Bolstering her claim is that in Spanish the word “negro” is a color for black and that a black person is called “moreno”.

“They haven’t even accounted for how absurd it is for someone who’s black to be using a racial slur to a student,” Shaun Reid, Smith’s attorney, told the New York Post. “Talk about context! There’s a lot of things wrong here.

In all fairness though, the word “negro” can be used as a very sharp euphemism for a black person much as the N-word is used in English.

According to the Post, racism in schools is becoming an increasing problem:

The issue of racism surrounding the firing of other teachers has made headlines before. Last February, a Minneapolis teacher was put on paid leave after he was accused of discriminating against five black students in his class, according to WCCO. He was accused of making them sit in the back of the room because “it is easier for him to teach rich white folks than poor black people,” and telling them things like, “you will never amount to anything” and “you only have one parent.”

The following month a teacher was fired from a Washington, D.C., charter school for writing violent and racist math problems for students to solve, WUSA reported. One such problem involved a tiger catching African Americans and Native Americans, and cooking them in ovens.

A spokeswoman for the city Law Department said, “We have received the papers and will review them.”

Do you think the teacher should have been Fired for word ‘negro’?

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