Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birther Thirsty. A Question about Racism in the Academy.

Call me Ted from Telluride.

I work at a lovely Rocky Mountain-region college, with a group of friendly, ski-happy, collegial academics. We get along, for the most part, famously.

I'm in the social sciences, and for reasons unknown to me, we share parts of two floors with a number of business profs. Both departments are pretty young; we hang out a good deal in two nice lounges. Hardly a cross word gets passed.

But in the past months, the Obama birther controversy has caused numerous testy conversations in our hallways. It is beyond me how anyone can not see the birther movement as racist at its heart. I'm an African-American, but young enough that most of my horror stories are about my parents and grand parents. I've mostly  felt at home in college, grad school, and in two tenure track jobs.

But I sat in a room of profs this afternoon where a number of folks shared their concerns about Obama's recently released long form birth certificate. Surely it had to be a fake, and a bad one at that. They parroted some of Donald Trump's recent quotes, including the one about how Obama should get off the basketball court and get back to running the country, and I kept thinking. "Y'all want to call him a nigger, am I right?"

I sort of hate myself for feeling this way. I'm not so invested in who the president is or what color he is that it overshadows the day to day of my life in this lovely spot. But I left campus wanting to pack my stuff and move along somewhere more tolerant - and I don't even know where that would be.

That's a rather specific genesis for a much more general question.

Q: Do you see racism exhibited among your colleagues? Is it overt? Does it overshadow otherwise collegial relationships?

- Ted from Telluride


  1. Ted, the most terrifying take-away from your post is that even educated people in positions of authority actually believe that birther crap. I can sort of understand this delusional behavior in my nitwit high-school-dropout neighbors here in Redneckistan, but COLLEGE PROFESSORS? We truly are doomed as a country.

    In response to your question, I've been lucky not to have experienced any outright racial hostility. I'm also in the social sciences and the only race-related annoyance I have to endure (I'm Asian-American) is colleagues trying to show off their multicultural awareness by tying my every move to some imagined fact about my ethnicity : "Ooh, look how you're holding your fork! That's because you're used to eating with chopsticks!"
    (I didn't learn to eat with chopsticks until I was 10.)

    Your post also reminded me of how deeply it still sucks to be an African-American. I'm not sure I'd have the balls to go through what you do every day.

  2. Yes. And sexism, and homophobia, and ableism, and transphobia...daily. And I'm at a known "liberal" institution in Canuckistan.
    (Sorry I can't tell you the grass is greener.)

  3. I've never seen a successful comment thread on race. I am eager to see how CM handles this.

    Ted's story matches one of my own, and I'm just a regular ol' white guy. There are parts of my college that are rabidly right wing - to go along with a large group of rabidly left wing folks.

    We mostly avoid politics as a conversation.

    Now, if I were a Poli Sci guy, then I don't know what I'd do.

  4. A colleague said this yesterday:

    "Yeah, I know he published more and he brought in more grants, but the award committee just wanted to get a Black face on the front of the alumni magazine."

    Word for word.

    We share offices at one place I work. In the office across from me, the morning professor is Middle Eastern and the afternoon professor is White. Afternoon professor makes an enormous deal about having to air the office out because of "the smell." Never mind that afternoon professor's cologne could choke a horse.

    Oh! And last year, the hiring committee thought they'd invited your Standard White Guy candidate. Said candidate turned out to be Latino. Cue panic: "Oh my god! We have to change the reservations! Can we get into the Mexican place for dinner? Where's the Spanish translator?!"

    Then there's the daily comments about students of color and the expectation that they either don't belong in college or that they're being pushed by their parents. Once I was meeting with one such undergraduate, and my *chair* observed us. The chair called me out of the office and inquired if he needed to intervene, because it seemed like the student was "trying to intimidate me; Asian students are always so pushy."

    I'm White and in the social sciences. My department? Is known for its race scholarship.

  5. Remember the old Tom Lehrer song "National Brotherhood Week"? That's my university. The whites hate the blacks, and the blacks hate the Middle Easterners...and everybody hates the Jews (and the Latinos). If I hear one more comment from my colleagues about women with hajibs (usually referred to in less polite terms) I'll puke directly on them.

  6. In my very civil, very lovely department, it is there, very subtly.

    Ted, I can't believe you don't go postal.

  7. Luckily, I'm just a hologram, and do not even have an office.

  8. I haven't seen any, but as an adjust I avoid politics and religion as topics. But if one of my colleagues went Birther on me, I'd have a difficult time not chewing them a new one. For some reason many white racists seem to assume that other white people are racist as well* and will sometimes slip and let their KKK freak flag fly.

    * yes, I know, assumptions of white privilege, etc. I am talking about the open, overt, "young bucks buying steaks on my tax dollar" type racism...

  9. Ted, the most terrifying thing to me about your post is your comment that you "sort of hate yourself for feeling this way." (The rest is terrifying, but unsurprising.) We're in some absolutely horrendous backlash at the moment in which everyone who sees and calls out racism (or homophobia, or sexism, or transphobia, etc.) is labelled "angry" or "invested in their victimization." Because of course, these things don't really exist, and they're "all in your head." Recognizing oppression, calling it out, and fighting it is not a reason to hate yourself. Seeing that you have agency doesn't mean systemic oppression doesn't exist. And I think the reason you're hearing and feeling different things now than you did in undergrad and grad school is that now, you *have* power. People and institutions are far less threatened by individuals from historically oppressed groups who *get* power than by individuals who don't yet have it. (And of course, some aren't threatened, and I assume many of your colleagues belong to this group...?) Which is why you're hearing the suppressed rage about Obama, and why you may be feeling targeted yourself, when you've never felt that way before. I'm really sorry you're going through this; I hope you have some colleagues who can hear what you have to say, and even speak out with you.

  10. A (white, male) professor in our department has a somewhat different type of affliction -- he fetishizes diversity. He gets positively giddy about learning people's ethnic backgrounds (it's usually his first question to them), and this carries over to his classes: I have it on good authority that he waxes enthusiastic about the ethnic/national/linguistic diversity of the students at every opportunity, even when unrelated to the topic at hand. Granted, I guess it's better than racism per se, but it's certainly not in keeping with the critical-race and post-colonial orientation of many of our colleagues.

  11. he fetishizes diversity. He gets positively giddy about learning people's ethnic backgrounds

    That kind of pigeonholing drives me up a wall. It's not OPENLY racist in the negative sense, but it's a kind of essentialist sloppy thinking that results in all kinds of effectively racist behavior.

    Oh, who am I kidding. It's racist.

  12. Fight, fight, fight the good fight CM'ers! I'm here in BibleBeltistan and see/hear many intolerances and -isms all day every day but if I leave who will carry the flag?

  13. I am a Muslim woman who wears the hijab and teaches at a university as an adjunct. I am mostly treated well and with respect where I work, but I am nervous about the tenure track job hunt that awaits me in the future. It kind of makes me want to give up on academia, thinking that a thin piece of cloth is what could keep me from getting a job.

  14. @apostropheisha

    How can the culture change if you don't help?

  15. I'm aghast that supposedly educated people could give any credence to the birther crap. If they don't think that's racism, they don't think much.

    Virtually everyone in my department is white. That in itself is cause for concern about the possibility of racism. I've noticed racism most in my colleagues' comments about our students, the majority of whom are not white and are immigrants or the children of immigrants. We'd be fools not to recognize and work with inevitable cultural differences. However, when this degenerates into simplistic stereotyping, it's a problem. Colleagues have talked about "fragile" Asian "girls" who can't handle hot topic readings, "spoiled" young Indian men who won't do any work, and "macho" Middle Eastern men who won't accept female authority. (Note how this all also breaks down along gender lines.) This is not acceptable and I hear it often.

  16. @apostropheisha -- I am truly sorry that this is a concern for you, but if I wore the hijab, I would be concerned myself.

    @Ovreductd -- It's hard to always be the one fighting, because "helping" change can often mean "being cannon fodder" for young proffies.

    Last week, in a discussion with two tenured white men and a tenured African-American woman from the drama department...we started talking about a recent hate speech incident on campus. One of the white profs turned to the African-American prof and said "Now, don't get all ghetto on us."

    I also enjoy it so when my colleagues discuss people they think are "bipolar" or "have multiple personality disorder" or talk about the ways that students "hide behind their mental illnesses." Yeah. That's fun.

  17. It's distressing to me that I teach in a city celebrated for its liberal reputation (or vilified, depending on the person).

    And yet, we have 800 students of color out of 10,000. There are hate crimes all the time (particularly the rape of black women). People on the bus move away from people of color, no matter how they are dressed. There is a large "ghetto" area, a place of isolation and poor schools mostly because landlords focus on renting only to students, who are generally white, and that leaves students of color and other families to live only in this one neighborhood.

    It amazes me that my colleagues can write the complex analyses of race that they do, and then over lunch give me their ideas of how one group or another could fix their situation if they only did XYZ, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps blah blah blah.

    That women need to stop taking this stuff so seriously.

    That they appreciate the equality laws in theory, but if domestic partnerships are allowed at the uni then all of our rates will go up.

    It frustrates me to no end. But what can I do? Slight comments here or there, a refusal to agree, but that's about it.

  18. The most virulent racism in my area of the world is against First Nations people. More than once, I have had to deal with students saying the usual bilge against Natives, even when Native classmates are sitting right beside them. I wouldn't say that my colleagues are overtly racist in this area. Rather, they are quite uninformed and don't seem to have any interest in rectifying that situation.

  19. @Ovreductd - It's not the job of the person being oppressed to educate the people doing the oppression. Besides, they don't listen - they see the hijab and dismiss whatever words are said.

    Or they do like you just did, and say that if she'd just do X, then the oppression would end.

  20. @Ovreductd - Another problem is that you have to get *into* the system before you can help to make the changes. Do I think that the presence of my fat body would help, in some tiny, tiny way, to reduce systemic fatphobia within the academy? Sure. But how do I get into a position to do that when hiring committees are saturated with faculty members who believe, consciously or not, that fat people really are lazy, gluttonous, and stupid? Prejudice doesn't just circulate within the academic work environment, in many cases, it barricades the entry door -- which is the concern I hear in apostropheisha's comment.

  21. (thinking out loud)

    You know, it was a very good friend who wore a hijab who taught me how ardently feminist and independent Muslim women could be. While balancing an arranged marriage and celebrating Ramadan, Nousheen was outside protesting the Iraq War, volunteering at a safe center for women, marching for abortion rights, handing out food to the homeless. She was amazingly smart and incredibly capable.

    I'll never doubt the agency of a group like that again, even if mainstream news tells me that they are all oppressed to their teeth and cannot escape.

  22. issyvoo, totally agreed. People are very careful not to utter anything racist against, for lack of a better phrase at the moment, "typical" minority groups. Yet when it comes to natives I never cease to be amazed at how many people don't have any problem railing against "drunk, lazy Indians", and oh boy do you ever see the contempt and hate in their faces when they talk about natives. What I hear is very racist e.g. "I think it's in their blood to drink and want to fight."

  23. PS I'm also have some more insight into racism against natives as I "look" native, and I am occasionally accosted on the street by drive-by shouting of insults, always emanating from pickup trucks. Once when I came into work with my hair down and wearing a red bandana around my head instead of having my hair in its usual tight ponytail (yes, I was feeling young and carefree that day), one of my colleagues did a double take and said "whoa there chief! you're looking very native today!" [note that a lot of natives consider "chief" to be a very derogatory racial slur]

  24. Yes, of course, there is racism at my school. Yes.

    But I doubt the birther thing is about race as much as religion. If Obama the Black man had been named Fred W. Smith and baptized days later in a Methodist church, most of those birther people wouldn't give a damn. They fear death and Hell.

    It's just too much for them to have a leader whose middle name is Hussein and whose father was once Muslim.

  25. @Bubba

    The Methodist and Baptist people in my community do not have a problem with my white Muslim neighbor.

    They do have a problem with the darker-skinned Muslims from her church.

    Anti-Islamic feeling is just as much about racism as it is about religion, public safety, and foreign diplomacy.

    And the whole thing about doubting the president's "American-ness" is all about the idea of a foreign, dark-skinned, non-American person "stealing" the presidency. It makes him invalid and his ideas invalid. These things are all about the Other.

    It's racism.

  26. Yes, I have it from two different angles. The angry racists--Caucasians who think anyone not white is stupid (or at least stupider)and Chicanos who think everyone white is racist by default--are the two primary offenders in this group. I have heard colleagues insult each other and our staff because of race. I have had colleagues tell me, "Brown people are not as smart" (which is ironic because most of our students are "brown" in one form or another). I have seen protests because no Chicano was on a committee yet not an eye batted when no Caucasian was appointed. I have watched as the Mexican-American Student Association battled the African-American Student Association over who would get to participate in a public art project that had plenty of room for both groups. Faculty members nearly came to blows over that incident.

    Then there are the pity racists. They are even more insidious in a way because they think anyone who is of color is automatically disadvantaged socially and intellectually and thus needs a handout. All manner of snowflake behavior is excusable because of this perceived disadvantage, and students get passed through as a social justice project since the K-12 system has given them a bad education and they deserve a college degree for all they have endured, thus righting all the wrongs. If a snowflake who is not the color of snow uses That Site to pick proffies, he or she can easily find the pity racists and get through most of the core with a minimum of effort.

  27. Really, EnglishDoc? "Pity racists?"

    Guess what. People of color in our society, worldwide, are automatically disadvantaged. Women, homosexuals, the physically disabled - all automatically disadvantaged by a society that runs on privilege. Not that people should be given "handouts," but hey, you really should stop to think for a second about what you mean by "handout." Because offering opportunities that those who are disadvantaged wouldn't normally have - that's not a handout. That's justice.

  28. I could be wrong. I was just guessing. I try not to spend much time in racist idiots' minds. It's unpleasant.

    @Monkey: Muslims go to church in your community?

  29. Englishdoc, that's like racism 101. In Europe it's called "inherited social disadvantage" and people of color experience it on a daily basis.

    But I don't say that to jump into a pity party. What I'd recommend is staying a week in a heavily Latin@ or Asian or black community. See how it feels completely immersed in a community where people look, act, and speak differently from you. It's an odd experience. And people of color cannot escape that in most of the US. I literally had a friend of mine experience this four days ago when we were visiting an area of New York. It was his first time feeling that ostracization and it made him feel really uncomfortable.

    @Bubba, there is a mosque just outside my fair city where Muslims gather multiple times a week to worship.

  30. Yeah, "pity racism" exists; I prefer to think of it as clueless (usually) white people who can't be bothered to teach so they instead socially promote those sad brown people who cannot possibly learn (even though they usually do when forced to).

    Just look at Barb's excuse-making to see it at work. Aw...poor poor people are so disadvantaged! Let's just excuse things like cheating and plagiarism cuz they don't know any better!

    Being given an opportunity is not the same as being given an actual degree. An opportunity requires work; gifts require little more than an open hand.

    If you do not know the difference between earning a degree and being given one based on social promotion, then you are part of the problem.

    For a comparative "white" equivalent, consider the phenomenon of "legacy admissions" at the Ivies. "Daddy donated a library! Let's let his kids in and never kick them out!"

  31. Still, if the question is whether there are more white Muslim American birthers than black Christian American birthers, then my money's on the latter, by a tiny margin.

    But someone with more expertise probably knows more. How about we give our resident anthropologist BlackDog a CM grant to study it?

    Fab, could I send you $3 via Paypal to start building the CM endowment?

  32. Hey, The_Myth? Where in my post did I say cheaters and plagirists should be excused if they're persons of color? Don't put words in my comments.

    But pull your head out of your ass and look back at Ted From Telluride's original post. The birth controversy is an example of what minorities have to face every day: they don't have to perform "as well as" non-minorities; they have to be better and jump through far more hoops to prove that they belong. Because no one could believe that those "poor brown people" (or those women, or those homosexuals, or...) could possibly be competent.

    Take a look at your comment. You very neatly shift the blame from the people who have power to the people who don't. So instead of there being an issue of prejudice and accumulated social disadvantage and White teachers being lazy, there's a problem with those "sad brown people" who have to to "forced" to learn. ("Usually.")

    One more thing, and I can't believe I have to say this on a blog maintained by and for academics, there's no such thing as "pity racism." There's also no such thing as "reverse racism." There's racism, and then there's people whining because they don't want to share.

  33. @ Barb: Hear, hear! Thanks for saying this so eloquently and resisting swearing all over the keyboard, as I'm tempted to do...

  34. My institution is pretty diverse -- enough so that there isn't really a clear majority group, especially if you take religion, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and immigration experience as well as race into account. The result is that we get both 'flakes and really good students of all backgrounds and hues. If anything, the white, traditional-age, EFL, culturally-Christian, multi-generation-American students tend, as a group, to be a bit weaker than the others, because our institution is probably the best they could get into, rather than the best they could afford to attend. But even that pattern is weak, and easy to find exceptions to.

    It's not utopia, but they do really seem to get along pretty well, at least in class (there's the usual clustering of students with similar backgrounds in the dining halls and other social areas). I've overheard a few odd comments ("I have black friends; I know a guy who goes to [local historically-black institution]" from one of a group of white fraternity boys I passed one evening; I didn't hear the context). I do think I've noticed a decline in the number of African American students whose US roots are generations deep as we've gotten more selective over the past decade (we have a good many students born in or a generation away from Africa, but, despite the way the statistics are kept, that's a different experience -- or, rather, variety of experiences; I've had such students describe themselves as "African-African-American"). That worries me. All in all, though, I'm optimistic, and reasonably confident that the majority of our students will be willing to consider hiring, working for, promoting, voting for and possibly even marrying (or seeing their children marry) people of a variety of backgrounds (in fact, we've already got a good many students who are the product of marriages between parents of quite different backgrounds).

  35. I do have one contingent colleague who's convinced that he never got a tenure-track job because he's white and male and studies canonical authors; he might be right that those factors (as well as a somewhat combative personality) played a role (new lines tend to be created to fill holes in the curriculum), but it's also true that the job market has sucked for the past 2-3 decades, and there haven't been a lot of retirements of people who do the stuff he does.

    I have to say that even the Republicans I know (mostly from church, not school) are emphatically not birthers, or racists. They didn't vote for Obama in '08, and they probably won't vote for him in '12, but they think George W Bush is an idiot, are disgusted with their party for making him president, and consider Obama to be far better qualified, by education and intellect, for the job. They think that the tea party has a strong racist streak, and want nothing to do with it. They're glad the US elected an African-American president (though they'd have been happier if said president had been Colin Powell), and wouldn't have any problem with the idea of a Muslim president (but don't think that Obama is Muslim, any more than they think he was born in Kenya -- and, given their own overseas experiences, they're inclined to think that a child born to an American parent abroad should count as a "natural-born citizen," anyway. They also tend to see no problem with a constitutional amendment that would allow well-established naturalized Americans to be president, and to be otherwise sympathetic to immigrant issues). In short, they're sane (and, for that reason, I take their opinions seriously when we discuss more substantive matters -- funny how that works).

    The worst I've heard any of them say about Obama is that he's indecisive because he grew up without a strong father figure at home -- a statement that may have some connection to stereotypes about the supposed pathology of African-American families, but counts at least equally as sexist, and probably also anti-intellectual (Obama as effete Ivy-Leaguer).

    I'm probably not the best observer, and I'm sure that there are things that both my students and my Republican acquaintances feel comfortable saying to each other, but not to me. I may also be living in a conjunction of subcultures that represent everything the birthers fear -- precisely because, like having an African-American in the White House, they look different from what many Americans are used to, but work just fine.

  36. “Do you see racism exhibited among your colleagues?”

    I don’t, but someone with a different definition of racism might.

    On a related note, I don’t think birthers are necessarily racist – just boneheads.

  37. Wanderer, you have a point -- some people only consider racism the octogenarian version where people use the N-word and call black men in their 40s "boy" and consider a whole family of black people to be animalistic.

    But there are other forms of racism, too, and that can build up over time. It can lead to snap judgments, assumptions of theft and stupidity, etc.

    I don't see this thread going anywhere profound. But I would like to second the motion that we create a grant for Blackdog. I'll donate $3 and a free coffee coupon.

  38. @Barb from Batavia--You jumped to conclusions about "handouts." I am a CC professor by choice. I work in the land of equal opportunity. I am a passionate defender of open admissions, appropriate levels of education for all students based on their ability (ABE, developmental, and college-level), and giving people chances to move up as far as they want to and are able to in their education. Most of my students are minority. Most of my students pass. All of my students are asked to do the same work.

    If you see a person of color in your class and automatically think that because of that person's race, he or she has had an inferior education, should not be expected to meet the standards of the class that you've set for everyone else, and deserves to pass on the basis of your inferences alone, then yes, it's pity racism. I think it is just as racist to assume someone can't do something based on skin color and therefore should be given what you expect others to work for as it is to assume someone is better based on skin color and therefore should not have to work as hard. I have had colleagues say in public meetings, "If a minority student seems like a nice person who tried, I'll pass them through developmental ed even if I know they didn't do well enough to pass. Let freshman comp weed them out," and "I will give a minority student an A on a paper before I will some rich white kid from [local affluent suburb] even if the white kid's paper is better because I know the minority student had to work much harder." Explain to me how those are not racist statements, particularly when, in an area where most people are of color, there is no way to correctly infer where a minority student is from.

    @Academic Monkey--that's where I live and work. Minority students outnumber whites. My CC is in the inner city. The population in general here is primarily people of color, and that is true everywhere in the metro area with the exception of a few sparsely populated rural areas. Among my colleagues, we are about evenly split, but that is also changing rapidly with retirements.

  39. @EnglishDoc - I'm going to say this again: There is no such thing as "pity racism." Racism is racism.

    You're the one assuming that helping minority students succeed involves setting lower standards or passing unqualified students through. Helping minority students succeed does require more effort than helping majority students succeed - but I need to emphasize "effort." Such effort includes recognizing that minorities have ABSOLUTELY faced discrimination and a negative environment before (and while) they are in our classrooms. We, as professors and people committed to social justice, must try to minimize those effects. That requires more effort - not less.

    I never said anything about inferior educations, inferior ability or needing handouts. That was you and The_Myth.

  40. No, I'm not the one "assuming" anything. I told you what colleagues have said. That is not assumption on my part. That is fact. When people do what I described, they are engaging in racism because THEY are the ones making the assumptions. I very specifically defined what I meant by handouts in my post, and you ignored it and ran with the whole privilege issue as if what I said didn't even exist. I do not appreciate your taking what I have said others do and projecting it onto me as my attitude about handouts, student success, and working with students.

    I don't care what color my students are. As I've said repeatedly, I teach in an inner city community college. Most of my students are minorities, and we are located in a minority-majority area. Most of my students are on financial aid regardless of what color their skin is. Most of them come from woefully underprepared backgrounds, again regardless of race or ethnicity. In this area, we have only a couple of good school districts. The rest have phenomenal dropout rates. Unless a student comes from one of about five zip codes in our service area, that student has probably not been prepared for college. Of course that can vary if the student went to private school or had great support at home. Almost 90% of our students take developmental classes, and about 75% need remediation in at least two subjects. Therefore, almost all my students come from disadvantaged circumstances. Conversely even in [local affluent suburb], where one of the best high schools is located, most of the students are minority. They end up at CC either because they goofed off or their parents are teaching them a work ethic by making them pay for their own college. I'm not about to make judgments about who is neediest based on outward appearance alone. There's more than enough economic and educational inequity to go around here. Being a CC prof means I know most of our students are in need of extra help, most are unprepared, and most will require encouragement beyond that the student not too far away at State U or Top Rated Private U would need.

    So if you think that trying to help every student in the culture of my area and the conditions in which I work, holding all students to the same standards, not making any automatic assumptions about those students because of skin color, and deploring those who would pity someone because of race and as a result give that student an undeserved passing grade makes me racist, then you can go ahead and think that. There's nothing else I can say that would change your mind. In the end we are two random strangers on the Internet.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have papers to grade. These are for one of my online classes. I can't see what color the students are and can't make any assumptions based on names either in most cases. They will all get my best efforts based on what I see they need in their work.

  41. @Englishdoc: the fact that we often don't know the race (and sometimes even the gender) of our online students is an interesting component of the experience. I rarely if ever find myself wondering about such matters, which I think is a good sign.

    But there's pressure in the other direction: lots of encouragement by the online ed gurus to share photos, interests, etc. I do provide a link to a picture of myself (the profiles on our department web page include pictures), but don't currently prompt students to do the same. It makes for some interesting encounters at this time of year, when many of them choose to come in for face-to-face conferences (among other things, I can't tell if the person sitting outside my office is waiting for me or a colleague), but, on the whole, I think it's a good thing to give students the chance to be racially anonymous if they so choose (and if their name allows it; since many of our students are first- or second-generation Americans, names often provide some information about the national origin of at least one parent).

  42. Although this is not in answer to the question at the end of the original post I am concerned about teachers of young college students who apparently ignore and/or not interested in the evidence. When George Romney was a possible presidential candidate the consensus among legal scholars was that he met the qualification as he was a citizen from birth and did not require naturalization as he was born to American parents in Mexico. Should the evidence of the birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper be given less or more weight according to who provided the information to the newspaper? At that period it was usual for hospitals to send the newspapers a list of births.

  43. I teach in the South, at a very small, private, predominately African American college. Most of the faculty is white. I have not been here long, but I've already encountered at least one faculty member who, after greeting me for the first time at lunch one day, proceeded to talk about all their students who were 'from the welfare mindset' and 'didn't do any work - expected them to be handed everything'.
    It has been my experience, teaching both at a huge Midwestern (mostly white) university as well as this small, ethnically diverse Southern college, that there will be entitlement in every class I teach; there will be students who work hard, and those who do not. It is a result of many things, but never a matter of color. I avoid the (white) woman who made this her topic of conversation that day, and find it interesting that other faculty members routinely cite her name as an example of someone who is not adequately performing her job.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.