Berkeley students protest exam because noted professor isn't Mexican
I wish I had thought of this gambit to get out of taking an exam when I was in college. I guess I'm not blessed with an active enough imagination.
Students at Berkeley are protesting a midterm exam being given by a noted professor and an expert in his field. They demand a take-home exam instead of an in-class test and say the professor is unworthy of giving any test because he's not Mexican.
Professor Harley Shaiken, a recognized expert on labor issues, refused the request of a take-home exam but offered to talk to the protesters outside class.
He was rebuffed.
"This is a campus that is truly related throughout Latin America to the notion of free speech," Shaiken said, followed by laughter from the protesters, who went on to claim that their "well-beings are being put on the line because of the emotional, mental, and physical stress that this university is compounding with what is already going on in [their] everyday lives."
"Have you ever checked 'unlisted' or 'undocumented immigrant'? I don't think so!" one protester shouted at Shaiken, who wrote about and advocated for improved workers' rights in Mexico, specializes in labor issues, and was presented in 1991 with the Outstanding Teaching Award at the University of California, San Diego.
Yet the protesters claim that he is unqualified to teach a class on labor issues in America and Mexico because he's a white man, and went on to ask Shaiken to check his privilege.
While some of their classmates waited patiently waiting for the protesters to leave so they could continue the exam, one annoyed student jokingly asked if "this is a filibuster."
"Are you trying to silence us right now? Is that what you're trying to do?" one protester shouted back at him, to which he replied that he was simply "trying to take my test."
"This is our mental health. This is our physical health. This is...um," another demonstrator remarked as she scratched her head, turning to another protester.
Shaiken eventually offered to step outside to continue the conservation while the remainder of the students finished their exams, but the protesters refused, instead going to the Department of Ethnic Studies to complain.
"I don't know why you're still, like, sitting down, y'all. I don't understand. I really don't understand. Y'all can take your [f------] test, but people are dying out there," one protester, who remained behind, stated, then accusing students of supporting white supremacists.
I wouldn't have had the guts – or the stupidity – to make that argument. But really, this is a novel way to shut down a test you didn't study for. Does anyone really believe they're angry because the teacher is white and not Mexican? Do they really think that matters as far as the professor's expertise in the subject?
If you answered "yes" to both of those questions, you aced the test.
In order to believe what these students apparently sincerely think, you must suspend the very concept of reality. They are encouraged to think non-critically on issues, which creates what we called in my youth a "false consciousness" – a version of the truth much at odds with reality but shared by those who exist with you in your little cocoon.
There is much to laugh at from this incident. But it should also serve as a warning. Someday, these snowflakes are going to be running the country. If that doesn't give you the creeps, nothing will.