Discipline Dr. Verushka Lieutenant Duval and ban the use of the N-word

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After Dr. Verushka Lieutenant Duval's use of the N-word in her ART3317 class, the students of the University of Ottawa are outraged! In the recent weeks since the publishing of the article written by Paige Holland & Charley Dutil outlining how Dr. Duval used this derogatory term to signify subversive resignification and the student’s outrage at her ignorance and insensitivity, the professors at UOttawa have created a petition in hopes of saving Dr. Duval’s job. This shows an immense lack of respect for the black community and insinuates that similar incidents regarding other minority groups may arise in the future without repercussions.  The support that this professor has been receiving from her colleagues is used as an effort to excuse her actions and portrays the lack of awareness towards the current social climate and the meaning behind the slur.

She is currently trying to justify the use of this racial slur due to her using it to provide an example, making this reasoning extremely ignorant. The lack of recognition of the N-word solely being based on the degradation of black communities is appalling.  The connotation behind the word is connected directly to its use in history. It is more than just a word. The only real solution is for people who are not from the black community to stop using it. There are no kinds of special circumstances that can allow for the word to continue to be used by any person of a different race. There should not be such a strong compulsion to say a single word with such a long discriminatory history, that is still being used against the black community.  By continuing to try and normalize the use of this term, especially in educational settings, it further cements this degradation into our culture and fosters a hostile environment. 

It is vital for institutions to work with minority communities in order to educate one another about racism and discrimination as they have lived through it and are still experiencing it. Professors should be able to teach about the history of racism and the implications of the N-word and other derogatory terms without utilizing them. Dr. Duval had posed the use of the N-word in discussions as something debatable when it is clear that the use of this term is unacceptable for people who are not part of the black community. This nescience from a professor is unacceptable as she is the authority and therefore is expected to know better. As students from a variety of cultural backgrounds, it is our responsibility to ensure that our school respects and appreciates all of its members, equally.  By signing this petition, we will be able to refute that of the faculty members trying to excuse Dr. Duval’s actions, hold our professor’s accountable and force them to educate themselves on current and past issues, in order to prevent a situation like this from reoccurring.