Derogatory terms have no place in school, especially not from a teacher.
On October 12, Kaden Brown, 11 years old, was asked by his middle-aged white teacher, “Are you a mutt?” Kaden didn’t know what the term meant so the teacher and another student explained it meant “mixed.” Kaden returned home and told his parents what occurred and his father Kevin L. Brown was not happy.
Brown wrote a Facebook post sharing Kaden’s experience and had his son hold a sign that read, “I am not a mutt!”
Brown explained: “This left my son, my heart and joy feeling like he meant nothing, that he was less than nothing. He even went home and asked his mother “why cant I be all white?”, he wants to disown his African American heritage for his mother’s German, Italian, Irish heritage (guess his mom is a Mutt too)!!!”
Brown told Huffington Post that Kaden had been called the “n”-word by other students in the past.
The dad added, “This teacher made my son feel dirty, calling him a mutt, a dog with no identity who doesn’t belong. I AM OUTRAGED!!! This racist behavior should not be allowed in our schools, our children should never be faced with this BS, especially in the classroom from people that we (parents) entrust our children’s protection.”
“This can not be tolerated. I am tired of the hate, tired of the affliction and pissed off that my innocent child has become just another victim to racism in this county.”
Brown added, “There are many multiethnic families and individuals that have been hurt by society, hurt by words that have had a lasting, life-long sting. I can’t imagine living a life where you are not black enough for one group and not white enough for the other.”
Brown’s post has sparked response within the family community. Other mixed families and children have shared photos of themselves, standing in solidarity with the Brown family.
In addition to the Facebook post, Brown has also reached out to Wolfe Middle School about the incident. “We have not yet had the opportunity to speak with the teacher. We only spoke of their policies and not their apologies for the belittlement of my 11-year-old son,” he said.
Apparently the school is arranging a formal apology but no date has been set. The teacher has not been in the classroom since the incident.
Brown told HuffPost why it’s so important that we rally against derogatory terms like “mutt”: “There are people who feel there is nothing wrong with the word. This is hopefully a teaching moment for them ― that you cant speak to someone, especially a child, in such a derogatory way.”
“[Mutt] dehumanizes a person. The definition in itself compares one to a dog, without origin … a mixed breed. That is not my son.”