By Michael Harriot, The Root
An attorney for a Texas institution of higher learning tendered her resignation after she was criticized for using the top-ranked* racial epithet during a lecture to students. While the Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers, social studies teachers and 99.9999 percent of law professors somehow manage to avoid the slur, this particular lawyer insisted that it was “impossible” to discuss the concept of protected speech without using the word “nigger.”
Seriously, that’s her defense.
On Thursday, Caitlin Sewell, the University of North Texas System’s assistant general counsel spoke at the UNT event, “When Hate Comes to Campus.” While teaching the students about protected speech, Sewell searched for a useful but relevant analogy and decided to use an offensive term that everyone could understand—the most offensive of them all.
The North Texas Daily reports:
“If I said something offensive … you know, you can say a lot of offensive things in here because it’s impossible to talk about the First Amendment without saying horrible things,” Sewell said. “Um, you know, ‘You’re just a dumb n—-r and I hate you.’ That alone, that’s protected speech.”
However, SGA Senator Daniel Ojo said afterwards that Sewell continued with her example and used the term “f-word” in an attempt to censor herself, but didn’t seem to worry about using the n-word.
“So, you didn’t censor the n-word, but you definitely censored f—,” Ojo said. “Like, what’s more damaging to people? There is no word that I can say to describe a white person that is completely damaging to their character… that has like big historical context to it that can damage someone, but there are a plethora of words that can describe and damage minor marginalized students.”
To be fair, “fuck” is different from “nigger.” No demure Texas lady would dare use the connotation for sexual intercourse in mixed company. But how was she supposed to make educated college students understand what happens “when hate comes to campus” without bringing the most hateful word imaginable to their campus?
In a statement, UNT Chancellor Lesa Roe and UNT President Neal Smatresk said although they understood Sewell’s point, the nigger speech contained references that “are never condoned.”
Statement regarding “When Hate Comes to Campus” comments and outcome — A Joint Message from the Chancellor and the President pic.twitter.com/dxQNW3OWCt
— Neal Smatresk (@UNTPrez) November 8, 2019
Sewell, who has worked for the Denton, Texas, institution since 2017, resigned effective immediately, explaining that she has “never used that word in public before. The sewer-mouthed Sewell apologized and said: “I wish I had censored that word—it came out without thought.”
“F-word that racist devil bitch,” said one student who I made up for this analogy. “I hate her.”
*Our ranking system only polled white people. The Complete Rankings of Caucasians’ Known Epithets and Racial Slurs (CRACKERS) still lists “white people” as the number one slur for white people for the 2,298,202nd week in a row.
This article originally appeared on The Root.