By Jay Scott Smith
CHICAGO – A 48-year-old Chicago public school teacher used the “n-word” as part of a lesson on the perils and pitfalls of racism, and it landed him a five-day suspension from his job. The teacher is fighting back, filing a federal lawsuit against the district and claiming that his civil rights have been violated.
Lincoln Brown, a 21-year veteran teacher and native of Chicago’s Hyde Park, used the word in his sixth grade classroom at Murray Language Academy on Oct. 4, 2011 after discovering a note that female student was passing had the slur written on it as apart of some rap lyrics. Brown, who is white, used the note as an opportunity to teach lesson about racism in the context of Huckleberry Finn.
In almost impeccable timing, as soon as Brown said the “n-word,” the school’s principal, George Mason, walked in the room, and the trouble started.
“This cannot be apart of who I am,” Brown said during a press conference with his attorney. “My character has been assassinated.”