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Student Calls Out Teacher For Saying The N-Word During Class

A California college student created a presentation that actually called out his professor for using the n-word twice in class.

Maleek Eid studies marketing at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, but it was in his English class that the word was used. The class was using Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to illustrate annotation when the teacher let loose the n-word.

Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Eid, who is Palestinian, explained, “She said ‘they used to use words like…’ and she said the n-word. I didn’t say anything, I was actually so shocked.”

Then, a week later, his teacher used the word again. “So I was like, that’s strike two, and strike one didn’t sit well with me already,” Eid said.

Eid claimed that the rest of the class didn’t seem to have much of a reaction, but then again, none of them were black. (Less than two percent of Palm Desert residents are black, according to the 2010 census.)

Soon afterward, the professor assigned the class a project in opposing arguments where they’d have to tackle controversial subjects, which is how Eid got the idea for the presentation. It consisted of things non-black people say to try to justify using the n-word, and heincluded the professor in the presentation.

In the video, which has been viewed more than 1.2 million times, Eid can be heard saying, “This word was used twice in this class. There’s really no excuse, there’s really no justification.” Eid’s point was that just saying “the n-word” gets the meaning across just fine.

The professor stayed quiet throughout the presentation, but she did try to defend herself after.


Eid recorded the professor, who claimed, “I said the word because I wanted a response, I wanted someone to say, ‘that’s wrong to say that’ or ‘I take offense to that.'” She continued, “Sometimes when we’re discussing things and you’re all sitting there going” (here the teacher made snoring sounds) “kind of thing, sometimes somebody’s gotta shake you up.”

The students may need to be woken up but saying the n-word is not the way to do it. Eid countered the teacher by saying, “If the solution to getting your class to snap up is using the n-word then you need different strategies.” Truth.

The professor also brought up the idea of cultural context, using as an example the appearance of the n-word in books like To Kill a Mockingbird. She said, “Things change, society’s reaction to things change and sometimes it’s acceptable and sometimes it’s not.”

But that’s not what this was about, and Ein stated as much, replying, “I get you’re talking about using it in literature, but the two times you used it wasn’t in literature, they would have been totally acceptable times to say ’n-word.'”

The other students in the class didn’t really seem to have his back—theyjust ignored the presentation or even giggled, which Eid said left him feeling “depressed.” The response on Twitter was totally different, though.

Eid talked to a college counselor after the presentation, looking for someone to aid him with his complaint towards the professor. He hasn’t been back to the class since the presentation and asked the school to pardon his absences and to transfer him to another class.

BuzzFeed reached out to the professor for a comment, but she instead referred them to the college. In a statement, Pamela Hunter, the college’s executive director of institutional advancement, said:

“College of the Desert’s core values are based on inclusiveness and diversity in all forms, including academic freedom for both students and faculty. It is the policy of the Desert Community College District to recognize the importance of academic freedom in pursuit of academic excellence for both faculty and students. We embrace diversity in all forms and the right of all people to have access to quality higher education in a safe and respectful learning environment.”

Hmm. Sounds like they might have some more work to do.

h/t: BuzzFeed News, @abuyoshi