Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have been pondering whether or not to talk about this experience of mine. But I am going to because I think it is an important issue.

On Wednesday, I had a paper due in my class called "The History of European Migration." It was supposed to be on a book entitled "White Teeth." I did not turn in this assignment. And here is why:

I only got through the first 8 pages before I threw the book on the ground crying because I could not handle one more F-word, S-word, sexual slang term, talk of suicide, or other disgusting, depressing thing.

I am an Exercise and Wellness major and in this major I don't have to deal with anything like this. But I am also a History minor which is where the liberal arts come in. I wanted to share the email I wrote to my professor:

Professor H-,

I wanted to discuss this book. I began reading it and was disappointed and uncomfortable from the very beginning. The themes of suicide, prostitution, sex, and alcohol among other things are the very opposite of uplifting. The use of curse words is appalling and, to me, unnecessary.

I realize that this may sound as if I am sheltered and have not come to grips with the harsh realities of life. However, I understand that suicide and prostitution happen and run rampant. I know that the world is full of depressing and terribly sad things. But I do not believe that I need to be so unabashedly exposed to it to understand the lessons you are trying to teach in this class. The use of slang sexual terms, swear words, and other ignorant words is a practice too often mistaken for authentic and even educated dialogue. Stories can be told without the use of such crass and vulgar words. I am attending ASU to be educated in a professional and mature way and I am deeply disappointed at the choice of such offensive and indecent literature.

I am fully aware that this complaint will probably not lead to a change in curriculum. However, I wanted my voice to be heard. I want to make it clear that I and others like me can learn very well without being exposed to such ugly language.


Emily Nicoll

I wanted to share that because I am sick and tired of vulgar and disgusting language being passed off as acceptable because it is "real life." That is a ridiculous excuse. As I said in the last part of this email, I wanted my voice to be heard. I know this email won't change anything and may just feed the fire, but if you, like me, are tired of ignorant language I would encourage you to do something about it. It is scary to me that this kind of language is acceptable and promoted in the education system.


Heidi said...

You're my hero! :)

Jen said...

You are awesome!!!
I am so proud of you for writing that email.
No one has a right to make anyone intake such vulgarity.

And again, so proud!

Let us know if your professor responds.

onehm said...

You absolutely did the right thing! If good people stay silent how will anything change? Proud of you.
ANd I agree with Jen, I want to knwo what the professor says. :)

The Milliron Family said...

Aaaaaaaaaaaamen Sister ! Good for you for standing up for yourself. I agree with everyting you said. I cannot stand the language that is being used now days. Its frustrating to me as a parent of young Kids. Good job standing up for what you believe !

Tara Porter said...

Girl I am so with you on this one. who cares if vulgar crap is how real life is? If you can't get your point across without using four letter words, then I don't want to hear it. I hope you do change the curriculum. Or at least the mind of the teacher. Way to be brave Emily. I'm so proud of you.


DC Nicoll said...

Most Excellent!

Birtcher said...

Wow girl! You are amazing! Thanks for standing up for who you are and what you believe to be right.

Liz said...

You Rock!!! Just love you!!!

Kelsey Jackson said...

Em! I am so proud of you!

ChristineMarie said...

Darling, I'm very proud of you
Here's the thing: because people are different, education needs to be at least somewhat personalized. Maybe people who are more exposed to that sort of language and lifestyle would find the book inspiring or life-changing or something. However, for someone who has chosen a different way, there should be another option to learn the same lesson the book is supposed to be teaching. You should never have to make a compromise between your education and your morals. And I'm proud of you standing up for yours. You're the best <3

Laraine Eddington said...

You never disappoint me Emily.