Selective Television Outrage

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When I earned my master's degree in English at the University of Texas at Austin and entered the doctoral program, I began teaching English composition. Before the semester began, the new instructors were required to attend a week of meetings. During one of the meetings, an experienced instructor recounted his shock at reading in his student evaluations that his black students considered him a racist.

I never figured out what he thought the moral of the story was, probably that we should be still more politically correct, but I laughed with a grim inward humor as he recounted how he had told his class that the Cosby Show presented an unrealistic picture of the life of black people in the United States, glossing over the profound suffering they endure at the hands of racist America. This was, of course, a bizarre liberal fixation at the time, not something the instructor thought of on his own.

Liberals love to think of other people as racist, but the instructor was completely incapable of understanding how his black students must have perceived what he said. Here they are, first—year students at this giant university, which has something of a racist reputation fostered by liberal activists, and they go into English class, and all of sudden apropos of nothing, their white teacher starts railing against Bill Cosby, whom they no doubt thought of as an amazingly talented, funny, and successful black man. They're supposed to be learning how to write, and the teacher rants and raves about the evils of Bill Cosby.

Notice that the instructor did not complain about Don Johnson and the unreality of Miami Vice or of any other show on television. I have no idea where he is now, but he is probably delivering profound lectures on the unreality of 24, as opposed to, say, Monk or West Wing.

Jonathan David Carson  1 16 06

When I earned my master's degree in English at the University of Texas at Austin and entered the doctoral program, I began teaching English composition. Before the semester began, the new instructors were required to attend a week of meetings. During one of the meetings, an experienced instructor recounted his shock at reading in his student evaluations that his black students considered him a racist.

I never figured out what he thought the moral of the story was, probably that we should be still more politically correct, but I laughed with a grim inward humor as he recounted how he had told his class that the Cosby Show presented an unrealistic picture of the life of black people in the United States, glossing over the profound suffering they endure at the hands of racist America. This was, of course, a bizarre liberal fixation at the time, not something the instructor thought of on his own.

Liberals love to think of other people as racist, but the instructor was completely incapable of understanding how his black students must have perceived what he said. Here they are, first—year students at this giant university, which has something of a racist reputation fostered by liberal activists, and they go into English class, and all of sudden apropos of nothing, their white teacher starts railing against Bill Cosby, whom they no doubt thought of as an amazingly talented, funny, and successful black man. They're supposed to be learning how to write, and the teacher rants and raves about the evils of Bill Cosby.

Notice that the instructor did not complain about Don Johnson and the unreality of Miami Vice or of any other show on television. I have no idea where he is now, but he is probably delivering profound lectures on the unreality of 24, as opposed to, say, Monk or West Wing.

Jonathan David Carson  1 16 06