Letters to the Editors

Readers of the Grant Magazine react to the recent magazine issue ‘Let’s Talk About the N-Word‘.

Teacher knows the sting of N-word

I am a teacher at Forest Grove High School. I want to thank you all for writing such a powerful series of articles and various digital media pieces related to the use of the N-word.

This week, I was called this ugly, hateful word by a student of mine and I can truly attest that the sentiments you all expressed in many of the articles resonated with me.

I am overjoyed that there are young people who are willing to take a critical look at a topic that is uncomfortable for many people. Again, thank you. If there is anything I can do to help support the work you all do, please let me know.

-Meysha Harville, Forest Grove

Proud about magazine effort

Congratulations on a series of wonderfully written articles on a word that has carried extreme meaning throughout the history of its use. I learned some and enjoyed the research done to bring the writer’s point to light.

Keep writing, keep digging and keep the humility I see in the articles. My wife and I were both raised in Oregon and could not be prouder of what we saw in your magazine.

-David and Mary Silver, Portland

Professor at PCC calls issue honest, timely in for discussion on racism

Thanks, Grant Magazine Staff.

Your piece on the N-Word moves me. It’s crisp, honest, informative and timely. Your efforts give me hope that the vast and boastful ignorance this country has around race and racism will eventually stop morphing and instead cease.

-Professor Ricci Elizabeth, Portland

Grant High cross country coach says issue serves as teaching tool

I just read the latest edition of Grant Magazine, devoted to a discussion about the N-word. I approached it with a good deal of trepidation because I worried that our school would be characterized as being either overtly or covertly racist, ignoring the strong anti-racist curriculum we have in place along with the work we’ve done from 10 years of Selma trips, bringing back to our school what we’ve learned from such rich experiences.

Then I read the issue from cover to cover. I am so impressed that there are so many voices involved along with a wide range of opinions on the topic. This is journalism at its finest. Thoughtful, well-researched information is on every page. There are no sound bites or quick fixes.

The reader is directed to think about the topic in a more complex way. Offering plentiful historical context and plentiful personal experiences with the N-word gave this issue depth that few high school newspapers are willing to give. On top of that, readers are invited to reach out beyond the magazine by accessing books, podcasts, etc., to deepen their understanding and look further.

I have never been prouder to be a part of the Grant community. This issue will greatly help us have conversations about race that will bring us together and help heal old wounds. Thank you for such superb journalism.

-Doug Winn, Portland

Take a look at songs that use the N-word and include in discussion

Kudos to the Grant Magazine staff for taking a hard subject and doing such an excellent job in both the scope and writing of the March issue stories.

One thing I’m interested in knowing more about: How popular culture, especially music, has “normalized” the N-Word. When people hear the word over and over again in a song, are they questioning its history and derogatory connotations, or simply singing along? A lot of people, especially teenagers, embrace the culture of music as their own and like its defiance — but do they understand the significance of the N-word where black culture and music culture intersect?

Singing along is a kind of apathy, a topic you touch upon throughout the magazine (especially in “Bad Tree, Good Fruit”), which warrants greater discussion. One story I would loved to have seen as part of this issue: A reprinting of a popular song full of the N-Word. What would it be like to dissect it, to have others react to it in print, to pull apart its meaning and significance?

All in all, you did a great job! I read it cover to cover.

-Carrie Floyd, Portland

Gresham principal sees connection to equity work in her district

To the Grant Magazine Staff,

Thank you for your amazing March issue. “Let’s talk about the N-word” was so timely and insightful and very helpful. I am a school principal in the Gresham-Barlow School District. Along with five other members of my staff, we are taking a year-long equity certificate program through the University of Portland in cooperation with the OPEN School.

Your words and work are powerful! Thank you for doing this issue.

-Debra James, Hollydale Elementary School, Gresham

Grant Magazine

The Grant Magazine is a hybrid publication, comprised of a 36 page monthly news magazine and this website. It is put out and run by a small staff of students from Grant High School in Portland, Oregon.

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