Fired teacher: ‘Negro’ is a color, not a slur

A Bronx teacher fired for calling a student “Negro” says she was teaching the Spanish words for colors at a bilingual middle school, reports the New York Post.

Petrona Smith, 65, a black native of the West Indies, was fired in 2012  and hasn’t worked since. Now she’s filed suit.

She also was accused of calling seventh-grade students “failures,” but claims in court papers that she merely asked students who’d failed a test to move to the back of the room.

She denied calling the student a “Negro,” and explained to investigators that she was teaching a lesson about how to say different colors in Spanish and said the word “negro,” which is Spanish for the color black. She told her students that it was not a derogatory term and that the Spanish word for a black person was “moreno.”

She added that she’d been verbally abused by her charges, including being called a “f—ing monkey,” a “cockroach” and a “n—r,” but had never stooped to their level.

One seventh grader complained about Smith and three others agreed she’d insulted her students.

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  1. Too bad she’s not a hip-hop artist. Then she could say the same thing and make lots of money.

  2. BadaBing says:

    I don’t think a few 7th-graders make trustworthy witnesses.

  3. Why would I, as an educated professional, be held hostage to the ignorance of people.

    Reminds me of the Washington DC mayor’s staffer who used “niggardly” in a budget meeting and almost or did lose his job because the people in the meeting didn’t understand what the word means.

  4. With an administration this stupid, is it any wonder the kids aren’t learning much either?