Letters to the Editor

LTE: Terminology

From: Anne Lindyberg <anne.lindyberg@verizon.net>
Sun 3/28/2004 11:37 AM
To: editor@multiracial.com

Dear Mr. Landrith:

I am an education graduate student in my final year at a teacher’s college in upstate New York. We are required to take three classes that focus specifically on multicultural issues, and I am taking my third.

The instructor of this multicultural issues class presented a case study to our class, in writing, and described the child who was the object of the case as “Biracial (Mulatto).

“For the last 20 years I have had the impression that the term “Mulatto” was derogatory, based on its etymology, and also its reception by those to whom it refers. The instructor now informs me that it is an acceptable term. I still do not feel comfortable using it, concerned that I may offend.

Is there a right answer to this dilemma? What would you advise a person who is professionally responsible to be sensitive and inclusive, as well as personally desireous of being so?

I might add that the instrutor and entire class are white and there are very few people of color in our program.

Anne Lindyberg

Schenectady, New York

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