There is a really nasty word in Danish: Perker. I guess they use it when an English person would use “paki”. It is a word to mean a dark skinned immigrant who won’t integrate as far as I can tell.
A policeman racially abused a dark skinned immigrant at a protest with this word and when he was brought to account he said “I said *perle*” (I might have the spelling wrong) which is apparently a police slang word for junkie, due to junkie’s teeth resembling pearls after a while.
Following me so far? A policeman here lied about racially abusing a member of public and covered it up with another offensive but not racist word. Like when kids call you a bitch and then say “I have an itch” or whatever.
Anyway, a student of mine for no good reason took advantage of my Anglophonity to say Perker and when I went mad, claim she said Perler and when I would not accept that (The policeman LIED for a reason) she said “Well, THEY say it” and I went fucking apepoop.
I might have gone a bit overboard maybe. Maybe. Back in London, another kid would have been able to tell her off more privately so she would not have dared even go there. Here, I am it. The thin tweed line between civilisation and utter anarchy.
I was all like “it is a word that always hates, it is a word that says dark skinned people are LESS than others, it is nasty” when I told them what perler meant, they got a bit pissy because they had heard something else and who knows, they were right about that. It wasn’t the point which is why they tried to deflect.
Anyway, we resolved to leave those words out of the classroom and the ADHD boy from Pakistan shouts it out. Then he shouts out “I don’t know what it means” and so I had to kick him out of the lesson and explain that as HE was dark skinned, if he went around using it then the other children would say THEY use it, why can’t I? And that I was not about to have people say that darker skinned people were less than lighter skinned humans, not in my classroom, not in my world. And he smiled and promised never to say it again.
I think I did a good thing but it is hard to tell. This country is so fucking racist and I am just a white person bobbing along and feeling a bit lost. Back in the UK, there were so many black colleagues and so many black and Asian (et al) children around that I felt like my speeches were edited for content like a wiki. If I said anything stupid based on my privileged position, I could trust on one of my students to jump on it and correct it for me. Here, the non-white kids are really subdued and quiet. They would not say shit if they had a mouthful. I hope I don’t blunder. I want to do good. I want to not be a dick and I want my students not to be dicks.
It feels like a constant battle though and one I am not sure I can even win.