Professor’s project has a large impact

Alex PalmieriNews Writer

Social Justice Week provided an opportunity for students to address topics of diversity and social justice in the Southern community. There were plenty of events on campus throughout the week that were held in honor of social justice.

The N-Word Project, presented by Professor Frank Harris, was one of the events that Social Justice Week provided. Dorian Lord, Equal Employment Opportunity specialist, said the showing of the film was very insightful. Lord said he enjoyed the film because of the presentation of the history of the n-word.

“It was nice to see people’s willingness to learn and reflect on this subject,” said Lord. “It’s not a taboo anymore; people want to improve society.”

Lord said this screening was important to him because this is a word he thinks should never be used. He said it was a good film overall to depict the n-word.

“By using it [the n-word] with endearment,” said Lord, “it undermines the malicious with the radical perspective.”

Alicia Nunez, director of Equal Employment Opportunity, said she was happy to see a whole bunch of excerpts in the film. She said this showed the true context of the n-word and people of all ages need to see and know the history behind it.

“It was shocking,” said Nunez, “in 1800, it was okay to say that [the n-word]. I’m a visual person; those pictures really spoke volumes to me.”

Nunez said she does not approve of the word in any context. She said it is not allowed in her house, and she does not like when people say it.

“It cannot, will not, shall not be said,” said Nunez.

“The N-Word Project” screening provided an opportunity for students to ask questions after the movie was aired. The crowd was not huge, but it was diverse. This film was the perfect showing for Social Justice Week so everybody understood the significance of the word, the context of it and the literal meaning of the word as well.

Frank Harris, a journalism professor at SCSU, said the idea to do the project struck him because of the Race and the News class that he teaches. Harris had his class look up racial words in the newspapers and the students came back with the n-word.

“That got me thinking about the many words that Americans or Black-African descent have been known by in this country,” said Harris. “So I looked at all the words and one I decided to focus on was the n-word.”

Harris said this was something he wanted to explore to find out people’s different experiences. The word being used with “kill” and “death” was one of the things Harris found online that was the most disturbing to him.

“As you saw in the film,” said Harris, “it was often seen in a violent kind of way.

Irma Reyes, Equal Employment Opportunity specialist, was invited by the Connecticut Affirmative Action Professionals to view the “N-word Project.” Reyes said she is very involved in Civil Rights.

“That’s what I do for a living,” said Reyes. “I’m an equal opportunity specialist with the office of diversity and equity.”

Reyes said she knew very young to never use the n-word for any matter. Though she said she did not learn anything new after viewing the film, she said it was very insightful.

“We need to be culturally sensitive,” said Reyes. “My experience may be different than yours. For me, that word is very deep. People will be offended and may not understand that what is okay for you, may not be okay for the next person.”

Photo Credit: Palmer Piana – Photo Editor

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