Episode 41: Don’t Say It: Language, Teaching, and Community

Spoilers reunited in Saint Paul, MN, November 2022 (L to R: Crystal, Anita, Todd)

In this special “bookless” episode (in which we actually talk about many books), the Spoilers take on the question of language use in the classroom — specifically, what do we do as teachers when material we want to use with students contains offensive and/or hurtful language? We decided to discuss this subject, first, because Anita had been thinking about it a lot and wanted to see what we thought, but also because we all happened to be in the same town together for the first time in almost three years and we needed to talk about something! None of us were finished reading The Cutting Season, so we had to figure out what else we could discuss for the episode. We settled on this question, and it did not disappoint. Our conversation touches on multiple aspects of teaching and ends up providing insight into how each of us understands our role in the classroom (whatever kind of classroom it may be). We hope you enjoy it! (THIS EPISODE CONTAINS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE.)

Mentioned in the Episode

Books mentioned in the episode:

  • C.J. Pascoe, Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School
  • Randall Kennedy, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word
  • Rap Brown (Jamil Abdullah El Amin),Die Nigger Die
  • Solomon Northup, 12 Years a Slave
  • Danez Smith, Homie
  • Jay MacLeod, Ain’t No Makin’ It
  • Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
  • Ida B. Wells, The Red Record
  • Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
  • Paul Beaty, The Sellout
  • Bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress
  • Adrienne Maree Brown, We Will Not Cancel Us
  • Crystal Moten, Continually Working (pre-order available now!!)

Podcast mentioned in the episode:

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