QUESTION: We have recently moved to a state located in the South and have been less than thrilled with some of the backward mentality regarding various races. What is the best way to help our children understand that there will always be people who refer to African Americans by another name but that we do not accept it in our household?

PARENT RESPONSE: There are plenty of people who live in the southern cities who do not necessarily follow the same name calling pattern. We have lived in the same area in the south and were always taught not to call anyone names, especially if it is disrespectful. However, many people we know still have this problem, including us. It could be something that you may always need to address. If it is children who are visiting your home and begin using certain words, politely correct them and explain a simple rule of acceptable language in your house. If they do not abide by the rules, just ask them to leave. - Matt and Suz in GE

As a professional and educated black person, I do not object to being called 'black,' which many of my co-workers seem to think is incorrect. It is not. If someone refers to me as an African American, that is fine too. Needless to say, I have not met anyone that likes to be called a 'nigger'--which is what I think you are suggesting is being done--especially since Obama is now our president. My suggestion would be to calmly correct children, if there is an opportunity to do so, and change the subject should it be an adult. - T. A. in MO

FROM JODIE: Who knows, maybe everyone does not have the same mentality that you are referring to and it's not as widespread as you feel. Perhaps it's only stronger in the area where you live. Parenting is never so cut and dry these days, nor should it be. President Obama was mostly raised by his maternal grandparents, a Caucasian couple living in Hawaii. My brother and I, living in Texas, were raised by an African American woman. We didn't even hear of the 'n-word' until later in our childhood when we moved to a new school district. Once there, we were soon labeled 'n-lovers,' which devastated us because we had not been exposed to people who took the liberty of thinking that they were better than others. To make a long story short, we pretty much stood our ground about what we were raised to believe and turned out much better people for it. That's the lesson your children may have to learn the hard way, but always encourage them to do the right thing. Set up acceptable behavior and language rules for your household and be consistent. It must apply to everyone that is welcome in your home with no exceptions. Although it's difficult to control what goes on outside your house, you can ensure that intolerance and prejudice have no place inside it or within your family. In addition, always remember that if you want your children to believe in what you say and stand firm in their views, you have do the same. All the time, in every situation.


H. Lewis Smith invites readers to visit his thoughts regarding the n-word..."The n-word should continue to be looked upon as a disfigurement to the African-American's psyche and buried as far below the surface as those who lived to experience the true meaning of "n*gger," says, H. Lewis Smith, Founder/CEO UVCC, The United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc., and author of Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word. You can reference the following link:

to read the rest of his article. Or,

may also be helpful. Mr. Smith also invites readers to visit, UVCC online at for additional information.


My children, ages 8 and 10, are begging for a kitten for Christmas. However, the 8-year-old has challenges with allergies that can sometimes turn into asthma. The veterinarian says that children who have asthma may or may not be allergic to cats and it depends on the individual cat. Is there a way to know the probable outcome before we get one? Are there certain breeds that are better for kids?

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