I have never encountered another slur anywhere in the English language so pervasively dehumanizing. Words and actions matter. They teach, educate and shape minds; they are the ingredients of the future. St. Michael School educates children from Kindergarten to Grade 9 as part of the Calgary Catholic School District. Lianne Anderson, the school’s principal, was recorded by students asking a group of black students why it was OK for them to use the N-word — except she didn’t abbreviate. It was no different when one of the CBC’s most respected journalists, Wendy Mesley, said the N-word during a story meeting. Now, we have Verushka Lieutenant-Duval, a part-time professor in the faculty of arts at the University of Ottawa, doing the same.