*A white mother has opened up about how her 11-year-old adopted Black son is charging white kids at his school to say the N-word.
The woman explains in her letter to Slate that she and her husband adopted two Black siblings as toddlers who are now 16 and 11 years old.
Recently, her daughter Taylor tipped her off about what her brother Martin was doing.
“Taylor asked us after dinner if she could talk to us in private and showed us screenshots a friend had sent her. Apparently, Martin has been selling ‘N-word passes’ to kids at his middle school for $20-50! It’s been going on for weeks, and he had offered it to Taylor’s friend’s sister, who screenshot it and sent it to Taylor. They go to diverse schools for our area, but there are still a lot of white/non-Black kids there. Taylor told us that kids have been sending Martin money via Venmo, and she thinks he’s made almost $1,000,” the letter read.
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NEW: Students caught exchanging “N-word passes” Friday at Churchill H.S. in Bethesda.
The pieces of paper gave passholders “permission” to use the N-word.
MCPS hasn’t said how many students/passes were involved. We also don’t know if the students were black, not black or both. pic.twitter.com/VN4B2Zx57Z
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) February 12, 2019
“Martin’s actions must have made his fellow Black classmates upset and uncomfortable, and I feel like a horrible mother and person. I thought we did a good job, but we must have done something wrong. We need to give him consequences, but I don’t know how extreme to go,” the mother added.
Noted critic and commentator Jamilah Lemieux (who is Black) responded to the letter and noted in her response to the mother that her son is “naïve and shortsighted.”
“What Martin must understand is that while some of his classmates have played along with this charade, none of them who purchased his ‘passes’ were actually waiting for anyone’s permission to say ‘n***a.’ Furthermore, as they are unable to access the experiences that come with being a ‘n***a,’ he ought to spend some serious time considering that while he can pretend as though he is giving his friends access to one of the ‘fun’ parts of being Black, they will be spared the disenfranchisement and toll that comes with this identity—which should bother him,” Lemieux wrote in her response.
“Black people have an infinitely more complex relationship to the term, and he’ll have to learn how to grapple with that without doing something that could cause harm to other Black folks and/or his friends who were ‘waiting’ for permission to use it. Hopefully, there is a Black adult in Martin’s life—a godparent, a neighbor, etc.—whom he is close enough to that they can help you with this conversation,” Lemieux said.
“It sounds like Martin needs a reminder as to how ‘n***as’ are treated by our society and why he has very little to gain and a lot to lose from cheapening his people’s experiences to make a quick buck. It would be ideal for him to hear that from someone who has experienced the anti-Blackness that brought the word to life in the first place,” she added.
Lemieux urged the parents to find out how the other Black students at Martin’s school feel about his antics.
“If he and his sister are not regularly finding themselves in a community with children who look like them, then that is something you’ll have to address. Black kids who don’t have healthy social interactions with other Black kids have a world of trouble waiting for them,” Lemieux said.