Helping a middle schooler edit her essay on the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (which I have never read)….
Kid: “Ok, so, I have a serious question for you, and I need your opinion as a teacher.”
Me: “Go for it.”
Kid: “So there’s a part of the essay where I’m explaining the main character’s reaction to a really upsetting event, but I’m afraid to quote the event, because it’s like REALLY bad. Do teachers care if you quote bad language?”
Me: “Well, honestly, if the book was assigned by your teacher, then he knows about the language. And if using that specific quote truly helps to verify your argument, then you are absolutely allowed to do so.”
Kid: “But it’s like REALLY bad. Like the teacher might get mad.”
Me: “Again, if you are quoting the book, and it makes sense in your argument, it’s perfectly fine.”
Kid: “You’re sure?”
Me: “I promise.”
Me (laughing): “I swear! I wouldn’t lie to you!”
Kid (opening the book): “Ok, it’s this part here.”
(I read the words “Did you know that Indians are living proof that niggers fuck buffalo?”)
Me: “Oh, ok. Nope. You can’t write that.”
Furthermore– what the shit?! Who’s assigning this stuff to a MIDDLE SCHOOLER?!