Columbia student 'traumatized' by reading books about white people

Fifth-year undergrad Nissy Aya is on track to graduate next year.  Why six years to make it through a four-year school? 

Ms. Aya was traumatized by taking the university's "core" courses in Western civilization.  It seems Nissy can't stomach reading about white people.

Daily Caller:

Columbia students and faculty gathered Wednesday night for a panel discussion on “Race, Ethnicity, and University Life.” According to the Columbia Daily Spectator, much of the commentary revolved around the idea that minorities on campus simply spend too much time being traumatized by the white-centric content of their classes.

One of the panelists at the event was black Columbia student Nissy Aya. Aya was supposed to graduate in 2014, but instead is only on track to receive her degree in 2016. That, Aya says, demonstrates “how hard it has been for me to get through this institution,” though it’s worth noting she is an exceptional case, as Columbia has one of the highest four-year graduation rates in the country.

Aya attributed some of her academic troubles to the trauma of having to take Columbia’s current Core Curriculum, which requires students to take a series of six classes with a focus on the culture and history of Western, European civilization. Aya says this focus on the West was highly mentally stressful for her.

“It’s traumatizing to sit in Core classes,” she said. “We are looking at history through the lens of these powerful, white men. I have no power or agency as a black woman, so where do I fit in?”

As an example, Aya cited her art class, where she complained that Congolese artwork was repeatedly characterized as “primitive.” She wanted to object to that characterization but, in the Spectator’s words, was “tired of already having worked that day to address so many other instances of racism and discrimination.”

An online dictionary defines "primitive art" as "a genre of art and outdoor constructions made by untrained artists who do not  recognize themselves as artists."  There's nothing racial – or even bad – about it.  This our Nissy would have known if she had bothered to attend classes.  Her criticism is ignorant and uninformed – which makes her an academic star among her friends.

Another instance of academic ignorance occurred last year, when Columbia students objected to reading poetry by the Roman poet Ovid, wanting to substitute the works of Toni Morrison.  Now, Morrison's poems are lyrical and emotionally charged.  But perhaps we can wait 2,000 years to see if her poems survive as long as Ovid's before making that change?

If Ms. Aya wishes to go through life avoiding all writings by white people, that's her business.  But she shouldn't get a degree from any halfway decent school.

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