By Jamaican students
Eighth graders at Jay Stream Middle School say they were brought to tears during a Civil War project last Wednesday after a teacher first called them African-American, then n**gers.
“All four of us that were sitting there got offended because none of us are from Africa. I’m Jamaican. So we said, ‘Can you please not call us that?” student Mea Thompson told NBC Chicago. “She continued to call us that and said, ‘It’s the politically correct term.’ Then she said, ‘Well, back then you guys would be considered the N-word.”
The students say they were shocked by the teacher’s use of the derogatory term.
“We were so shocked and we were like, ‘What? Excuse me?’” said Thompson. “She was like, ‘Well, back then that’s what African Americans were called.’”
During the class, the students say the teacher continued to use the “N” word and called them slaves. The students say they were infuriated and at least one student was driven to tears.
“I just want people to know how much it affected us and I don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” said student Zaria Daniel.
Thompson’s mother, Shayna, says she understands that the teacher won’t be allowed to substitute at the school anymore, but says that’s not good enough.
“After the shock and hurt, I’m angry,” she said. “It’s a new world, and the people of the past that still hang onto hatred and bigotry don’t belong in this world anymore.”