Kansas Education Board Member Steve Roberts Defends Use of "N-Word"

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A Kansas Education Board member claims that he used the n-word racial slur during a recent meeting for “clinical” purposes.

Steven Roberts, the board member, used the racial slur during an April meeting in order to make the point that his colleagues were being too “politically correct.” Roberts, an apparent critic of political correctness, then referenced the use of the n-word in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” which he claims justifies its use.

Roberts, who is white, believes that the education standards banning its use are overly-sensitive.

“And as I call up the Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Roberts said, according to Lawrence Journal-World, “that N-word — and we all know what I'm talking about — it is in this document twice. So, I guess I really don't have a question so much as an admonition that we have to push the frontiers of political correctness, and do what's right.”

Roberts further went on to say that if used “clinically,” then society would be able to get over its repugnancy.

The Education Board was reviewing new standards written by Rev. Ben Scott, past president of the Topeka chapter of the NAACP. Roberts’ comments were addressed to Scott as a way to criticize them for being too politically correct.

Scott only recently responded to Roberts’ comments, saying he was both offended and confused about Roberts’ reasoning and his reference to King’s letter.

“I didn't get the connection in those statements relative to my comments to this board,” Scott said. “At a time when racial animosity is on the rise, as public officials and leaders we should be trying to calm the waters instead of fueling the fire…If the remarks by this particular board member were an attempt to besmirch the reputation or legacy of Dr. King, they are unacceptable and should be recanted.”

Carolyn Campbell, the only black member of the board, said she has been receiving letters from people very upset about his comments and told the Associated Press that was probably doing it for “media attention.”

Sources: Huffington Post, Lawrence Journal-World