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Is it okay for African American students to use the N-word?
Certainly not, according to Dallas high school teacher Curtis D Ferguson, who chose a dramatic spectacle to make his point during Martin Luther King, Jr week. He set up a tent near Dr. King's statue on Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard and began a hunger strike beside a giant banner that said, "Flowers in the Dirt. N-word Free. Our Children Deserve Better." He explained to the World and other reporters that his students at David W Carter High School were clearly confused by rap musicians, comedians, and opportunist politicians who use the N-word despite its clear contribution to America's long and ugly history of slavery and racism.
Ferguson said he chose the slogan, "Flowers in the Dirt" because his son once asked his mother why flowers grew. The mother replied, "Everything, even flowers, want to get out of the dirt!" Ferguson passed out leaflets explaining that African American youth may be tempted to use the N-word for five reasons:
1. Loss of self-identity
2. Allows for an excuse for failure and shortcomings
3. Many African American adults use it
4. No one told them not to and why
5. The so-called new contemporary hip-hop definition says that anyone can be the N-word.
But, Ferguson points out, using the N-word actually does 3 terrible things to Black youth:
1. Creates and reinforces a criminal mentality
2. Devalues them in the eyes of others
3. Increases racial tension
Ferguson's new organization is called "Students/Teachers Against Racial Slurs," or S.T.A.R.S. On the first night of his vigil, major civil rights leaders came to join him. Passers-by stopped to cheer them on!
Curtis Wilbert was one of the civil rights leaders supporting Curtis Ferguson
Dr. King's birthday continued to add more and more events this year. The San
Antonio march plans to continue being the second largest (after Atlanta) in
the world. Dallas has two parade/marches, while Ft Worth and Grand Prairie have
one each. Peace activists in San Antonio and Dallas were concerned about exploitative
military recruiters using MLK's birthday as an opportunity to lure young people
into joining. City-appointed planners in San Antonio scheduled a military aircraft
"fly-by." In Dallas, the argument over ROTC drill units bringing their
rifles continued. The Board at the Dallas Peace Center chose to sit out the
2006 events rather than participate alongside drill teams! No contingent will
stand up for MLK's dream of peace in either Dallas parade!