Teaching While White

Teaching While White (TWW) is becoming an occupational hazard these days. So is being a white student, for that matter. At the "Unofficial Scripps College Survival Guide," students learn that "white peers and faculty -- portray Claremont Consortium as a haven for liberal ideology and acceptance. It's a rhetoric that has led many white students to believe that racism does not exist on campus." Thus, "as white students, [they] must identify the ways that [they] are engaging in the perpetuation of white supremacy and work to unlearn [their] racism."

Of course, "reverse racism does not exist because there are no institutions that were founded with the intention of discriminating against white people on the basis of their skin. Many white people claim to be victims of reverse racism when people of color associate negative characteristics with white people or have a general dislike for them as a group. This is not reverse racism because racism is privilege plus power and people of color do not have racial privilege. Moreover, distrust or anger at white people is a legitimate response to a repetitive history and current state of racist violence."  

And so Rachel, Anna, Emi, and Jasmine, authors of the above, state that "[t]he solution to white privilege is to 'ask people of color to absolve [white people] of [their] guilt.'" But even that is "not an adequate response... [since] whites must be accountable and hold other white students accountable, too."

I would like to ask the authors if I decide to be black tomorrow a la Rachel Dolezal, would I still be guilty of white supremacy? After all, an Indian-American student got into medical school by pretending to be black.

But on top of all this is the sticky business of my being Jewish. And while it is abundantly clear that safe spaces surely exist -- it is only for Jew hatred, since recent studies indicate that the "nation's universities and colleges are likely today [to be] the chief institutional repository of anti-Semitism in the United States."

And should I believe that academic associations will come to my rescue, I am sadly mistaken. The American Studies Association and the National Women's Studies are but a number of organizations that have endorsed academic boycotting of Israel which is just another name for anti-Semitism.

Thus, "everyone is equal but some are more equal than others. Every student is entitled to safe spaces and protection against faculty micro-aggressions, but faculty attacks on Jews and Jewish students, especially attacks on Jews who support the existence and well-being of the Jewish state, are not intolerable acts of aggression but rather protected expressions of academic freedom."

And lest one think this only concerns females, please note that "if you believe police 'exist to protect you,' you have 'white male privilege.'" I wonder, though, how this works for the 63 genders that allegedly now exist!

It could easily be predicted that with the aforementioned atmosphere dominating so many universities that "safe space segregation" would be the next liberal agenda. And, behold, back at the Motley Coffeehouse at Scripps College one learns that "the Motley sitting room will be open... from 6-10 p.m. for people of color and allies that they invite." In 2015, black students at Princeton demanded a "dedicated space on campus for black students [.]" And they didn't "want it named after a white benefactor or person with bigoted beliefs." Didn't such segregation used to be what these students' great-grandparents fought against?

Harvard students demand the right not to sit next to anyone who opposes abortion. Politically incorrect opinions are to be extinguished so much so that one Harvard student has written that "[t]he rise of safe spaces has... deeply encroached upon open dialogue and free expression. It is ironic that while the origins of the term safe space can be found in the 20th century women’s movement, where it 'implies a certain license to speak and act freely,' today the term has come to be associated with precisely the opposite: the inability to speak freely. Journalists have been silenced in the name of safe spaces and debates have been barred. Books have been banned and conversation topics prohibited."

In fact, punishment and retribution of dissenting views is endemic and "free speech is under attack on the nation's campuses with too few willing to defend it." Instead, we are being strangled by political correctness, linguistic militancy, outright genuine discrimination, and intimidation.

Moreover, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, (F.I.R.E.), Harvard University "announced that members of independent, single-sex, off-campus organizations will be blacklisted from Rhodes and Marshall scholarships and banned from leadership of on-campus organizations or athletic teams."

Then there was the black student at a junior college who was quite uncomfortable with the following assignment which was "write an essay in which you are a member of an ethnic, religious, cultural, gender or other outsider or marginal group other than your own. Describe a day in the life of your experiences in prejudice, discrimination and stereotyping as well as the unique joys of being in the skin of this person from another group." As Richard Bernstein writes in Dictatorship of Virtue, "[t]he plain fact is that the richness and unpredictability of genuine human diversity cannot be encompassed by a few caricatures, even if they are very well intentioned." Thus, an assignment like this "erodes individualism, in that it presents people primarily as products of their racial and sexual identity, rather than as free, self-fashioning members of a democratic society who assume responsibility for themselves." As a result, "stereotypes are being created in the alleged effort to extirpate stereotypes."

On the other hand, some black students unleash the "R" word whenever they are constructively criticized for their writing abilities. Thus, in this unedited item an instructor was informed that he was "no different than the antagonistic prejudice [sic] professors described in 'Superman and Me'. Thats [sic] largest problem, you are extremely prejudice." [sic] Furthermore, the student in question wanted to be judged on how articulately he wrote not "weather" [sic] the instructor agreed with him or not. And, furthermore, the professor should "stop insulting his intelligence by haistily [sic] making corrections." It was alleged "racial ignorance" at play, not the student's purported writing skills or lack of same.

But should we be surprised? At Worth Publishers, the 10th edition of Race, Class, and Gender in the United States will "educate students on issues such as mass incarceration, sex crimes on campus, transgender identity, the pathology of poverty, pollution of tribal lands, and socioeconomic privilege vs. racial privilege."

But there is hope. After viewing the F.I.R.E. DVD entitled "Thought Control on America's Campuses" students wrote the following:

I was very disturbed where a man [who was reading a book celebrating the defeat of the KKK] was labeled as racially harassing a co-worker without a hearing and not even the chance to speak in his defense when actually he was doing nothing wrong.

My reaction towards these videos was astonishment. People being forced to do certain things [like engage in homosexual behavior] violates all our rights. Students should speak up if they ever encounter a situation similar to these videos.

I think there are a lot of things going on in universities these days that are very bad.

From these three clips, it really does show how our actions contradict what our Founding Fathers worked for. When the custodian from IUPUI was charged for racial harassment for reading a simple book about history, how could he even be charged for that when he never even did anything that was remotely racist?

No professor should ever assign something that will go against a student's belief. If someone cannot even have the freedom to read a book, then it would be surprising if they didn't have the freedom to do other things as well.

It really is disgusting that universities are allowing these kinds of cases to go through instead of doing proper investigation. Many people are not aware of what is going on and don't realize that our rights and freedom are being taken away by such actions that can potentially be used to authorize controlling us.

Just to think of these three stories makes one ponder what is happening on college campuses these days. College campuses are places where students are meant to speak freely; have freedom of thought, not somewhere where people's thoughts are being coerced and people are told they must act or think in a certain manner.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com

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