A Michigan student told his parents that a teacher asked him if he was a “mutt” while inquiring about his ethnic background.
“We were doing our work … and she said I have beautiful curls, and she asked if I’m a mutt,” Kaden Brown, 11, told WJBK. “And I asked, ‘What does that mean?’ She said that means if you’re mixed with a whole bunch of different races.”
Brown, a student at Wolfe Middle School in Center Line, Michigan, told his mother about the incident that evening at home.
“I asked him again, ‘What did you say?’ He said, ‘My teacher asked me if I was a mutt,'” his mother, Liane Banks, told WJBK.
Kaden told his mother that he responded, telling the teacher that he is mixed with black and white. He said a student nearby laughed during the incident.
Kaden’s parents later met with the school’s assistant principal, who told them that the school would investigate the matter.
Kaden’s parents said the issue is bigger than the one instance. Their son has said that he’s been called “the N-word” before.
“I don’t really want to be two different races now, because people ask me if I’m adoptedbecause I’m mixed,” Kaden said.
“One of the issues that we really need to discuss is how biracial people are treated. They’re not black enough for black people, and they’re not white enough for white people,” Kaden’s father, Kevin Brown, said. “So now they’re feeling alone. They have a void within themselves that needs to be filled. And it’s not right that my son has to deal with an issue like this so early.”
Banks said calling someone a “mutt” is problematic, no matter a person’s genetic makeup.
“It can be a racist statement if you’re white, Mexican — it doesn’t matter what (a pesron) is. It’s a racist statement,” she said. “A mutt is a dog, a mixed breed, an impure breed, and that’s not my son.”