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You seem to be implying that all professors of African American studies teach hate for white males.  I would like to think that isn't true.

 

Let me just quote the post I was referring to:

How, please, are we supposed to view ourselves "as a racial group"?

I guess I really have no idea how to do that, because I prefer to think of people as individuals, not of racial groups, or, for that matter, of gender groups.

We're all just individuals.  A field devoted to thinking of people in racial groups is not someone this poster seems to give any value too.

 

And "teach hate" is a pretty huge stretch, in my opinion.  Which we agreed to disagree on.

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Right, so it makes sense not to call BU a white college, just like it wouldn't make sense to call it a women's college, even though a majority of students are female.

 

I'm not arguing we should?

 

I'm saying this professors tweets challenged us to look at it from that (uncomfortable) angle.  Which was useful to at least a few BU students, as we've seen. Note that those are students who do NOT hate white people!

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People have an issue with "white males" being considered a category of their own.

 

Mostly people have an issue with her making ignorant obnoxious divisive statements about white males.

 

True, given her profession, some people have also pointed out that directing her comments at "white males" as a group is rather imprecise and unprofessional.  But no, I don't think that by itself is what has people upset.  If she would have said "white males as a group have more longevity than black males as a group" I don't think we'd be having this discussion.

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Like  I said. ... this whole thread is largely an attack on the concept of African American studies.

 

You wrote

 

but I'm honestly a little taken aback that white folks have no idea whatsoever how to view themselves as a racial group.

 

and I asked you to clarify just how you would like us to view ourselves as a racial group. I would still be interested to hear what kind of perception you'd like "white folks" to have about themselves.

 

And yes, I disagree with the idea that "white folks" should have a collective identity (the idea seems particularly strange to me since I am a first generation immigrant whose ancestors do not even share the white history of this country). If that is considered an attack on the concept of African American studies, then so be it.

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Let me just quote the post I was referring to:

How, please, are we supposed to view ourselves "as a racial group"?

I guess I really have no idea how to do that, because I prefer to think of people as individuals, not of racial groups, or, for that matter, of gender groups.

We're all just individuals.  A field devoted to thinking of people in racial groups is not someone this poster seems to give any value too.

 

And "teach hate" is a pretty huge stretch, in my opinion.  Which we agreed to disagree on.

 

One poster had the comments that could be taken as not valuing her profession.  How you turn that into "this whole discussion is an attack on the concept of African American studies" is confusing to me.

 

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Everyone? US News and World Reports, for example.

 

The linked article discusses a comparison of black colleges by a black colleges' organization.

 

My point is that black people/organizations find the "black college" designation a useful classification at the present time.  Your previous post seemed to imply that it's white people who are labeling colleges as "black" vs. "normal."  I don't see that happening at the present time.

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and I asked you to clarify just how you would like us to view ourselves as a racial group. I would still be interested to hear what kind of perception you'd like "white folks" to have about themselves.

 

Oh, OK, I missed that.

I don't think white folks need to think about themselves as a group, typically, but to be referred as one by someone who is NOT white is not inherently offensive.  Even if what she says is uncomfortable ("Deal with your white [expletive], white people. slavery is YALL thing.")

 

I will quote the professor's statement: "[issues of race] are uncomfortable for all of us, and, yet, the events we now witness with regularity in our nation tell us that we can no longer circumvent the problems of difference with strategies of silence."
In other words, let's talk about it.  Bring out the uncomfortable topics and hash them out.  That's a valuable part of a liberal arts education.

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I'm not arguing we should?

 

I'm saying this professors tweets challenged us to look at it from that (uncomfortable) angle. Which was useful to at least a few BU students, as we've seen. Note that those are students who do NOT hate white people!

you said if BU was 66% black, it'd be called a black college, then you mentioned HBCs. Which are a specific thing, separate from percentage of current racial makeup.

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The linked article discusses a comparison of black colleges by a black colleges' organization.

 

My point is that black people/organizations find the "black college" designation a useful classification at the present time.  Your previous post seemed to imply that it's white people who are labeling colleges as "black" vs. "normal."  I don't see that happening at the present time.

 

There are a dozen or so colleges that are 90% white, and I guarantee you that the students there don't think about themselves as attending a "white college".  And that's OK. But it's also a privilege of being able to feel 'race-free'.  Pointing out that privilege  was my point.

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One poster had the comments that could be taken as not valuing her profession.  How you turn that into "this whole discussion is an attack on the concept of African American studies" is confusing to me.

 

 

I saw way more than one.  But, again, we've agreed to disagree.

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you said if BU was 66% black, it'd be called a black college, then you mentioned HBCs. Which are a specific thing, separate from percentage of current racial makeup.

 

Sure, fair enough.  As I said above, my point was to illustrate the privilege more than anything else.  Plus, when this prof talks about white males as a 'problem population' she is referring to the majority, not a minority group.   A black female talking about white males  has to walk on some eggshells.

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Although many schools seem to be moving away from a liberal arts education, I think it would be wonderful if all college students had to take a course in African American studies and Women's studies.  These are topics that most Americans, even those who are women and/or black, are clueless about.    

 

When I was in college, I planned to take a sociology course about race.  However, on the first day of class the professor (AA male) stood in front of the whole class and looked over at an AA student and said, "I'm not here to educate you.  I'm here to educate the whites."  What he said and the way he said it scared me!   That same day, I dropped the class and took something else instead. 

 

This happened to me back in the 80's!  And today we've got the tweeting professor from BU who hasn't even started teaching there yet and already she has probably alienated some students who might otherwise have registered for one of her classes.   

 

The old saying I learned at home was "You can get more flies with honey than with vinegar." 

 

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Oh, OK, I missed that.

I don't think white folks need to think about themselves as a group, typically,

 

OK, then I misunderstood you..

 

but to be referred as one by someone who is NOT white is not inherently offensive.  Even if what she says is uncomfortable ("Deal with your white [expletive], white people. slavery is YALL thing.")

 

I do not think merely referring to whites as a group was offensive; it was her referring to white masculinity s as "THE problem in American colleges."  It is one thing to talk about "whites" or "blacks" in a situation that addresses a common aspect of the group. It is offensive to label one group, based on skin color and gender, as "THE problem".

 

 

I will quote the professor's statement: "[issues of race] are uncomfortable for all of us, and, yet, the events we now witness with regularity in our nation tell us that we can no longer circumvent the problems of difference with strategies of silence."

In other words, let's talk about it.  Bring out the uncomfortable topics and hash them out.  That's a valuable part of a liberal arts education.

 

 

I completely agree with the bolded. There are issues, they are uncomfortable, they need to be discussed, in order to be - hopefully- eventually solved. I have no issue with her statement you quoted, which is far more balanced and articulate than the tweets.

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Sure, fair enough. As I said above, my point was to illustrate the privilege more than anything else. Plus, when this prof talks about white males as a 'problem population' she is referring to the majority, not a minority group. A black female talking about white males has to walk on some eggshells.

But males are no longer a majority group on most campuses, and not at BU where it's 40-60 male-female.

 

Problem solved!

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There are a dozen or so colleges that are 90% white, and I guarantee you that the students there don't think about themselves as attending a "white college".  And that's OK. But it's also a privilege of being able to feel 'race-free'.  Pointing out that privilege  was my point.

 

So in cities where most groups / institutions are majority black, is it also a privilege for them to not think "I am attending a black ____"?

 

Or is it just normal to not focus on the racial make-up unless there is something stark or uncomfortable about it?

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So in cities where most groups / institutions are majority black, is it also a privilege for them to not think "I am attending a black ____"?

 

Or is it just normal to not focus on the racial make-up unless there is something stark or uncomfortable about it?

 

You just love your false equivalencies.

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I do not think merely referring to whites as a group was offensive; it was her referring to white masculinity s as "THE problem in American colleges."  It is one thing to talk about "whites" or "blacks" in a situation that addresses a common aspect of the group. It is offensive to label one group, based on skin color and gender, as "THE problem".

 

If you take her literally, sure.  If you are like many of us who take it as a tongue in cheek way of referring to how black males are thought of, it's different.   I will admit she definitely didn't know her audience, or how much "reverse racism" is really a huge social problem in some people's minds.

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When I was in college, I planned to take a sociology course about race.  However, on the first day of class the professor (AA male) stood in front of the whole class and looked over at an AA student and said, "I'm not here to educate you.  I'm here to educate the whites."  What he said and the way he said it scared me!   That same day, I dropped the class and took something else instead. 

 

This happened to me back in the 80's!  And today we've got the tweeting professor from BU who hasn't even started teaching there yet and already she has probably alienated some students who might otherwise have registered for one of her classes.   

 

The old saying I learned at home was "You can get more flies with honey than with vinegar." 

 

 

Again, I'd just refer to the students who responded positively to her tweets, like the hajib wearing student who 'got it' or the white guy from Atlanta who wasn't used to Boston's racial weirdness.  So, for some students, it was more honey than vinegar. 

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You're the one who said it was a problem with the majority group, of which males are NOT on BU.

 

 

BU is in America, where women still earn a fraction of every dollar a man earns (particularly non-white women), where one in six women will face sexual assault,  where we have had 44 non-female president and 43 white male presidents, etc etc.  

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BU is in America, where women still earn a fraction of every dollar a man earns (particularly non-white women), where one in six women will face sexual assault, where we have had 44 non-female president and 43 white male presidents, etc etc.

M'kay.

 

I was talking about this particular situation at BU.

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I think you have to be willfully blind to not see how much she dislikes whites. I wouldn't hire her, but there are many professors with extreme views on every side of any issue. She made the mistake of airing her views publicly,in a way that reflects badly on her.

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That's not true. We only have white riots where I live, or at least, mostly white, and everyone gets it. And they get why black people stay home those days.

 

 

I'm not sure what part of my post wasn't true? I didn't say that white people don't riot, or that some people wouldn't 'get it'. I repeated the words of another person who stated that being understanding of black riots was racist and stated the question that I'm not sure how to respond to that sentiment, especially considering the opposite sentiment seemingly expressed here. I'm genuinely interested in the answer to this. 

 

Of course there are perfectly lovely white male students, but a sociologist isn't commenting on individuals. Unless you have a particular aversion to the 'soft sciences' I don't see why you would quibble with a sociologist talking about populations.

 

It's interesting, that if she did tweet in order to 'turn the tables', and start a conversation about how it feels to be called 'a population of concern', that the general over-reaction from the right has proven the hypocrisy at play, because they sure as heck don't rise up all indignant when the 'population' in question is coloured differently.

 

If I was an aware white male college student at BU, the best thing I could do is to interrogate the statements with reference to my own experiences and beliefs, and the facts about my campus. I could use it as a starting point to imaginatively enter the experience of others. I could respectfully explore any questions I had with my lecturer. Those are the kind of things 'soft sciences' require of a good student, and constitute an authentic path to learning.

 

Or, you know, I could whine about 'reverse racism.' and learn nothing. 

 

This isn't helpful. This conversation has the potential to be very informative, let's not get petty. 

 

So basically, what this thread seems to be about is largely an attack on the discipline of African American studies.

 

Nonsense. It's a conversation on one woman's irresponsible Twitter use. 

 

I don't think it's giving an "awful lot of credit" to say a professor who teaches about racial issues making comments about those very  racial issues is doing something other than making personal, emotional attacks. I think it's simple logic.

 

Maybe I spent too much in the ivory tower on this topic, but I'm honestly a little taken aback that white folks have no idea whatsoever how to view themselves as a racial group. If BU were 66% black, it would be a black college.  It's 66% white, but it's definitely not considered a white college. It's a normal college. Yes, it does reflect the population.  The population that is is largely white. Not "regular students plus  minorities".

 

I'm guessing from your comments that I have far less experience in this area than you do, but I would state that if a college is a 'black college' it's because it self-identifies as such. Believe me, most white people wouldn't dare label anything as 'black', because they'd be called racist. 

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Okay, my last post was a little dated because I got distracted and missed some responses. I have a legitimate question and I'd love a legitimate answer. What is 'reverse racism' and how is it different from 'racism'? If I say "white people are a problem in America" it is 'reverse racism' and doesn't count, but if I say "black people are a problem in America" it's racism. I'm not understanding this. 

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Like I said. ... this whole thread is largely an attack on the concept of African American studies.

That is utterly ridiculous.

 

This thread is about one individual woman whose personal tweets were racist and offensive.

 

For some reason, you seem to think it is perfectly acceptable for a black woman to post multiple racist and nasty comments about white people, but you are hyper-sensitive to even the slightest hint of a negative comment made by a white person about black people.

 

You and a few others appear to be deluding yourselves into thinking the thing you term "reverse racism" doesn't exist and wouldn't matter even if it did. My suggestion to you is that racism is racism, and that "majority" and "minority" have nothing to do with it.

 

As long as people think it is acceptable for black people like this professor to post racist comments about white people, we will never truly have equality. Nothing is accomplished by targeting a particular group as "THE problem."

 

Believe whatever you want about that professor, but please also be aware that your personal prejudices are showing here. You are so busy accusing everyone else, but if this situation were reversed and it was a white professor posting the exact same comments about black students, you would be enraged and demand that she be immediately fired. There is no doubt in my mind that you would call her a bigot and a racist and say that she is intolerant.

 

Life is a two-way street. If it's not OK for one group of people to say something about another group, the reverse should also be true. But you don't want to acknowledge that, and I find that very unfortunate.

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Okay, my last post was a little dated because I got distracted and missed some responses. I have a legitimate question and I'd love a legitimate answer. What is 'reverse racism' and how is it different from 'racism'? If I say "white people are a problem in America" it is 'reverse racism' and doesn't count, but if I say "black people are a problem in America" it's racism. I'm not understanding this.

You're not understanding it because it doesn't make sense. It's just a convenient term for people to use when they want to say something nasty about another group of people, but don't want the other group to be allowed to respond in kind.

 

Racism is racism.

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You're not understanding it because it doesn't make sense. It's just a convenient term for people to use when they want to say something nasty about another group of people, but don't want the other group to be allowed to respond in kind.

 

Racism is racism.

I think the issue is that some of us are working with different definitions of racism. The Oxford dictionary and merriam-Webster. Definition of racism in English:

 

"1Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior:

1.1The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races:

theories of racism"

However, many believe that only groups with power can be racist. By that definition, minorities could not be racist because they do not have the power that the majority does. Therefore, reverse racism is not a real thing.

 

I tried to get the gist of that correct. I welcome edits and corrections. I think this is the reason some do not see her comments as racist. Since she is offending whites and white males who have privilege, it is not racism.

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I think part of the problem here is that some people are looking at the micro lens (just this one person and her individual tweets and the individual impact they make on said poster/individuals in the school) and others are looking at the macro lens (systematic racism, white privilege).  Micro lens this woman obviously said things that concern some people to the point of being considered racist depending on an individuals definition of racism.  Macro lens this woman in 140 characters said something brash that highlights some of the macro issues effecting African Americans as a whole.  The problem then becomes individual or group...as a white person we tend to look at each person as an individual...but for many minorities they tend to feel judged as a group...IE well if 1 black person said/did this then ALL black persons must say/do it too.  It can be hard for white individuals who respect judgement based on individual merit to see the group dynamic because all white persons are not grouped via their race (although they may be grouped based on other characteristics such as gender, sexual orientation, or wealth status).  Even within groupings like that many white people still look at individual merit and thus don't always understand when things are discussed in a grouping manor.  That said 140 characters is a very difficult way to express even typical mundane items much less nuanced and difficult to work through ideas.

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Oh, OK, I missed that.

I don't think white folks need to think about themselves as a group, typically, but to be referred as one by someone who is NOT white is not inherently offensive. Even if what she says is uncomfortable ("Deal with your white [expletive], white people. slavery is YALL thing.")

 

I will quote the professor's statement: "[issues of race] are uncomfortable for all of us, and, yet, the events we now witness with regularity in our nation tell us that we can no longer circumvent the problems of difference with strategies of silence."

In other words, let's talk about it. Bring out the uncomfortable topics and hash them out. That's a valuable part of a liberal arts education.

I agree that discussing uncomfortable issues in a respectful way is valuable. Her tweets fail on two parts - 1. tweeting is not discussing 2. She was not respectful.

 

These discussions might be useful in a class or say, an online forum, where people can share different views. One of my best classes in college was an AA politics class taught by a black professor. What made him such a powerful professor was that he respected all of us, regardless of our race or gender, and he didn't push his agenda. He presented information and asked questions which caused us to think, not just regurgitate the narrative he wanted to hear. However, she has already made her views knows publicly and clearly. Do you think that will facilitate free discussion in her classes?

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But then again, fueling divisiveness is employment insurance for people in her field. If we ever learned how to get along, a lot of people would be out of a job.

I disagree. I think that when things are going well, it is because of education on social phenomena. It doesn't obviate the need.

 

I'm very sorry that this individual is so prominent in the field right now. I know many African American academics who manage to get through their whole careers without abandoning their dedication to the discipline or speaking like she did. Who can express anger at entrenched injustice without disengaging from the humanity of white people.

 

ETA,

 

I bet a million she apologized at the behest of an African American mentor, probably more than one. I don't think she'd do it if it was only a white mentor. She doesn't seem to have that respect.

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Did you go to college? I had many professors who talk about the black male problem quite a lot. Mostly white ones.

 

That makes me curious when and where you went to college. I went in the 80s, had a business/accounting major and sociology minor, and never heard of a "black male problem." I went to 3 MD public universities by the time I finished my degree. (I moved around a lot during that decade.)

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I'm not sure what part of my post wasn't true? I didn't say that white people don't riot, or that some people wouldn't 'get it'. I repeated the words of another person who stated that being understanding of black riots was racist and stated the question that I'm not sure how to respond to that sentiment, especially considering the opposite sentiment seemingly expressed here. I'm genuinely interested in the answer to this.

 

Yes, sorry my reply was not clear. I believe her statement, that white people who said they got it were racists, was not true.

 

I was not trying to question what actually happened in your conversation.

 

I don't think a white person who claims to "get" the Baltimore riots is racist because they wouldn't expect that of white people.

 

I think many white people don't know how black people can stand the oppressive racism in this country and many white people feel equally oppressed by poverty, though in a different way.

 

I know people personally who sing along passionately... "let it burn, let it burn".

 

We didn't build this, after all. It's not our. Nothing to lose.

 

Lots of people get that.

 

I'm replying to your acquaintance's statement, not trying to school you. :)

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I fully agree on the macro vs. micro racism, AKA systemic vs. individual racism. There is no "reverse racism" on a systemic level. On an individual level, of course there is. Any individual can be racist, or prejudiced in general, against any group. Systemic racism obviously is a much larger issue, but it's not what this thread is about; this professor's tweets aren't a reflection of systemic racism, except in that they give insight in to how some of the oppressed respond to it. This is purely her personal opinion, so we're responding to her as an individual.

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I really disagree with the whole notion "If it's wrong to say it about one group, it's wrong to say it about another group".  Context matters, you guys.  Let's use a non-racial example.  If a government official says something derogatory about the common people, everyone gets outraged, understandably so.  Think of "those mooches who won't take responsible for their lives" or the  "clinging to guns and Bibles" statement.  People find this to be horribly offensive.  Now how often do people say negative things about the government?  About politicians all being crooks, untrustworthy, etc.  I've never heard once someone come to the politicians' defense with, "Well, it's wrong for politicians to criticize the people, so it's just as wrong for us to criticize politicians."  Obviously, it's different.  A citizen criticizing the government is not the same thing as a government official criticizing the people.  Why is that?  The only answer I can think of is there is the power dynamic between the two groups.  The government is in a position of power over us, therefore, statements talking about how horrible the American public is (or large segments of the American public) are not the same thing as Americans talking about how horrible the government is. In the same way, a statement critical of white people is not the same thing as a statement critical of black people.   And before anyone says, well, this professor is in a position of power over her students so it's different, nothing she has said indicates she would treat any of her students unfairly, any more than a professor making anti-Congress statements means he would treat the daughter of a Congressmen unfairly.

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That is utterly ridiculous.

 

This thread is about one individual woman whose personal tweets were racist and offensive.

 

For some reason, you seem to think it is perfectly acceptable for a black woman to post multiple racist and nasty comments about white people, but you are hyper-sensitive to even the slightest hint of a negative comment made by a white person about black people.

 

You and a few others appear to be deluding yourselves into thinking the thing you term "reverse racism" doesn't exist and wouldn't matter even if it did. My suggestion to you is that racism is racism, and that "majority" and "minority" have nothing to do with it.

 

As long as people think it is acceptable for black people like this professor to post racist comments about white people, we will never truly have equality. Nothing is accomplished by targeting a particular group as "THE problem."

 

Believe whatever you want about that professor, but please also be aware that your personal prejudices are showing here. You are so busy accusing everyone else, but if this situation were reversed and it was a white professor posting the exact same comments about black students, you would be enraged and demand that she be immediately fired. There is no doubt in my mind that you would call her a bigot and a racist and say that she is intolerant.

 

Life is a two-way street. If it's not OK for one group of people to say something about another group, the reverse should also be true. But you don't want to acknowledge that, and I find that very unfortunate.

 

I have no idea where you got this impression.  Honestly.  Where was I hypersensitive to the slightest hint of a negative comment made by a white people about black people??   Whaaa?  When did I give the impression I want people whose views I don't support to be fired? Heck, I defended the somewhat repugnant Camila Paglia in this very thread.

 

I've talked a few times about how I don't think her posts were racist or emotion-driven. I don't think I'll change any minds at this point, so I'll move on.

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But males are no longer a majority group on most campuses, and not at BU where it's 40-60 male-female.

 

Problem solved!

 

African cultrual groups (Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele, etc...) were and are by far the numerical majority in South Africa, but somehow apartheid wasn't "solved.  It is possible to be a political or social "minority" even though your numbers are officially larger than the group that holds power. In the case of BU, it is entirely possible that the ethos, traditions, policies and environment still preferences men, and most probably white men who are the traditional group for whom the institution was built. It takes years and decades to turn institutions around - it may be that BU still has the vestiges of that privileged treatment of white male students, particularly those who are wealthy and heterosexual. That's not a particularly shocking or controversial revelation.

 

When I was in college, I planned to take a sociology course about race.  However, on the first day of class the professor (AA male) stood in front of the whole class and looked over at an AA student and said, "I'm not here to educate you.  I'm here to educate the whites."  What he said and the way he said it scared me!   That same day, I dropped the class and took something else instead. 

 

This happened to me back in the 80's!  And today we've got the tweeting professor from BU who hasn't even started teaching there yet and already she has probably alienated some students who might otherwise have registered for one of her classes.   

 

The old saying I learned at home was "You can get more flies with honey than with vinegar." 

 

 

That was an unfortunate thing to say and I do wish he would have worded it differently, but why did it scare you? What did you think was going to happen? There IS often an imbalanced sense of understanding the lives of African Americans, people of color more generally, race or racism among white individuals because they are less likely to have to think about or deal it directly on a regular basis. Our high school history classes ARE pretty dismal in their effectiveness in teaching the basics of civil rights history. Many (though not all) black parents make up for that by ensuring their kids are taught that history elsewhere. The same doesn't seem to be happening any where nearly as much in white homes -- so kids aren't getting it at home and aren't getting it at school -- and then a big black scary professor comes along... (I'm being tongue in cheek).  Sure, you can catch more flies with honey -- but your college professor isn't there to ensure everyone has a "kumbuya" moment around race.  And our racial history isn't particularly a "Sunday picnic" -- you do have to be in a place to decide you will wrestle with it and face some of our historical and societal demons -- and what it means for TODAY to learn and grow from it. 

 

But, yes, you are right -- perhaps a different entry point would have been helpful, but it is doing students no intellectual favors to make sure they are always feeling comfortable at all moments in time in discussing difficult topics. In my social work classes, I've done an exercise on the beginning to explore the idea of "comfort" because a lot of what we will discuss in class is not comfortable -- I do agree with helping students to feel like they can stick with the class and will be graded and treated fairly. But your comfort, I can't guarantee.

 

Also, I'm curious - your situation happened over 30 years ago... and "now we have some BU professor tweeting..." That seems like a pretty big gulf between incidents - a lot of history has gone down between your experience back then and today, don't you think?  Can you allow these both to be individuals who handled communications poorly but perhaps not indicative of "what you'll get when you take those kinds of classes" -- because we're all about seeing people only as individuals on this thread, right? ;-)  Not lumping together professors who teach those classes into a group of folks looking to scare white students, right?

 

I think most universities have idiot profs.

 

I would not hire this women.  Her comments in all her various tweets don't look provocative, interesting, or nuanced to me.  They look ignorant, predictable, and shallow. 

 

Twitter is an unfortunate communications format, IMO. I really don't get it - but I digress. I wanted to inquire about the "ignorant, predictable, and shallow" comment. I get how someone could come to deem the comments as "ignorant" (though I don't totally agree) and "shallow" (it's Twitter, for goodness sake - it's a shallow medium, how many deep thoughts do you think come from Twitter?), but "predictable" is a bit of a button-pusher. Predictable only makes sense if you have prior experience with or some preconceived notion of the individual in question. And how could you possibly have had a preconceived notion of her as AN INDIVIDUAL since you did not know of her existence before this thread (unless you happen to have been her college roommate). So that only leaves the possibility of her being "predictable" based on -- wait for it -- her status as a member of a group, as in "those people are so predictable." And which group would that be? Hmm? Shouldn't someone insisting that we should all be viewed as individuals stay away from "predictable" as a descriptor of her comments?  Just be a bit more careful with your own words -- advice you were wanting the professor to heed. 

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To be honest, I think I get it now. When people say something about black people, we're* more likely to gloss over it, assuming they don't mean "all black people", but just "certain black people". Whereas if someone says something about white people, we* feel a need to point out that they should have said "certain white people", rather than assuming that's what they meant. That said, I'm not convinced the prof was trying to make some intellectual point.

 

*obviously not meaning "all white people", but probably a majority.

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Does someone have direct links to her tweets?  It's actually hard to tell from the way the article "chops them up." The article doesn't provide full sentences, so it actually is hard for me to assess whether she is irrefutably "racist" (I'll let that term stand for now). If I understand correctly, she actually doesn't say "White college males ARE a problem population" - she rhetorically asks "why is white America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?" Is this within the context of her responding to the numerous instances in which black people are called to account for young black men and some social problems associated with them (higher incarceration rates, lower academic achievement rates, etc...)? Because black Americans are often asked to do so -- even for instances/individuals that they do not personally know. I assumed she was being tongue in cheek. There have been a rash of comparative discussions of late about how rioting black youths are considered -- and treated -- as thugs, but the numerous instances of white (college) youth rioting are treated as youthful indiscretions, and certainly not something people want held against these "future upstanding citizens" and ruining their career potential. White college males are associated with the highest campus rates of binge drinking, and frat-inspired sexual assaults -- and it's a problem on many college campuses. 

 

I think the tweets were inelegant, to be sure. And as a new professor trying to establish herself, she may have caused more of a headache for herself than she needed, and I just don't think most scholars should tweet precisely because their research and their arguments do require a bit of nuance to truly follow them - but we live in a world where everyon feels the need to tweet.   But it's not a slam-dunk instance of "reverse racism" for me. The "white masculinity" comment -- it is possible to interrogate the impact of "white masculinity" without necessarily thinking every individual white man is individually a problem. Have the legal, social and psychological preferences given to white men over women and people of color not been a problem in this country? within our institutions? Ever heard of the vote being extended only to white male property owners, the institution of slavery, Jim Crow laws, the history of most prestigious colleges being historically only available to white men (women could not apply and very, very few people of color could get into those institutions), the number of white male CEOs (oh, that's current, not history - my bad), the home loan rates, the GI Bill (only available to white men), etc....  Now we might debate whether the attempt to dismantle those INSTITUTIONAL advantages based by and large on the assumption that white men, and only white men had the aptitude, capacities, moral fiber, etc... to be afforded those rights and privileges have reached far enough, fast enough. I'd say no, others might say yes -- but that's an enduring debate about race that we are not going to solve tonight....

 

I thought this was such a well thought out, articulate, helpful post. Thank you so much for this. When "sound bites" become the focus of offense, my knee-jerk reaction is to wonder what's being kept from us. This happens on this forum enough to expect it, and this thread was no different. Homeschoolers are being targeted by the government. Oh wait, they're seemingly grossly negligent of the needs of their children. Ebola is a huge problem and we should shut down our boarders. Oh wait, fewer people in the US were ever affected with Ebola than married Rush Limbaugh. A black woman hates whites. Oh wait, she's challenging social constructs. I'm curious to know if there's a ratio that exists (or could be formulated) to show the correlation between information and outrage. It seems to me the less information exists, the more outrage there is. Sound bites are tantalizingly brilliant for media sales, don't you think?

 

It seems to me, indirectly anyway, that part of the outrage of this professor is that she refuses to maintain her place. A person ought to be grateful for what she has, politely asking and patiently waiting for more, as it's deemed justified. That's how civilized society works, right? The idea that no oppressive system or regime has ever willingly given away power when asked politely seems to be completely irrelevant. The idea of this thread being about the discipline of African American studies made me wonder instead if people aren't indirectly tiptoeing around the idea that personal discipline in general is somehow the root of this. Any way, it reminded me of a quote I'd read from  novelist and scholar Toni Morrison delivered in 1975 in Portland, Oregon. Somehow the quote found its way around to me (gotta love social media):

 

"[K]now the function, the very serious function of racism, which is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing."

 

How interesting to see the distraction right here in this thread, from the point the BU professor makes, to her behavior. To paraphrase Greta Christina, outspoken feminist, antitheist, LGBTQ advocate, "The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks." It seems that tactic has become the preferred topic of conversation here again (not with regard to atheism, but the sentiment works for both I think). Is the BU professor right, or is she a jerk? And is one basing an opinion on the sound bites, or on all the information that is available?

 

And yes, I disagree with the idea that "white folks" should have a collective identity (the idea seems particularly strange to me since I am a first generation immigrant whose ancestors do not even share the white history of this country). If that is considered an attack on the concept of African American studies, then so be it.

 

But we (white people) do have a collective identity. It may be harder to see because it's the most common perception of society, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Let me share a personal example, if I may. I noticed a shift in my own perceptions about society some years ago when my daughter told me she's a lesbian. Suddenly I had noticed that movies we watched together, books we read, advertisements anywhere, all images in society we've been bombarded with since childhood are very comfortably set to appeal to the image of America as a family-friendly society. Family friendly is was, by default, organized through the imagery and expectations of heterosexual couples in love. Heck, ever since she was a little girl I reinforced that idea to her. Granted, heterosexual couples are by far the most predominant group statistically speaking so this makes sense, but it became awkward to me to see just how pervasive is the image of a heterosexual society as by default the "normal" way. I didn't think of myself as a part of the collective identity of heterosexuals, but neither did my daughter. The difference is I am, regardless of whether or not I am aware of this (I am now).

 

I think being aware of my own privileges helps me support her in general, not just in matters of love and romance. She wanted to know if the college campus she'll be attending is gay friendly, or will she have to hide a relationship? She's not one to hide, so does that mean she might be putting herself in danger? The matter is no longer one of love and romance, but of personal safety. These are things I was privileged to never have to consider. I could hold my bf's hand as we walked down the city street. I could give him a lingering kiss. I could hug him in public and never worry about what a passerby might think or do. That's a privilege I wasn't aware of, but benefited from nevertheless. I don't think it's inappropriate to recognize privilege when we enjoy it. That doesn't mean I want to give up this privilege, it means I want those I love to enjoy it, too. I think this is where the conversation ought to be going. How can we recognize precisely what it is we, white America, have taken for grated as being a part of The Way Things Are, and offer those same things to our friends, family, neighbors, and community of color? 

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To be honest, I think I get it now. When people say something about black people, we're* more likely to gloss over it, assuming they don't mean "all black people", but just "certain black people". Whereas if someone says something about white people, we* feel a need to point out that they should have said "certain white people", rather than assuming that's what they meant. That said, I'm not convinced the prof was trying to make some intellectual point.

 

*obviously not meaning "all white people", but probably a majority.

 

Yep.

Think about it like this: when there were riots in Baltimore, there was an expectation that "black leaders" would step out front to denounce the violence and remind everyone that not all black folks riot.

 

Yet when hockey fans/other sports fans who are predominantly white riot, there is no expectation for anyone to step forward and denounce the violence committed by white folks and remind us that not all white people riot.

 

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It seems to me, indirectly anyway, that part of the outrage of this professor is that she refuses to maintain her place. A person ought to be grateful for what she has, politely asking and patiently waiting for more, as it's deemed justified. That's how civilized society works, right? The idea that no oppressive system or regime has ever willingly given away power when asked politely seems to be completely irrelevant. The idea of this thread being about the discipline of African American studies made me wonder instead if people aren't indirectly tiptoeing around the idea that personal discipline in general is somehow the root of this. Any way, it reminded me of a quote I'd read from novelist and scholar Toni says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing."[/indent]

 

How interesting to see the distraction right here in this thread, from the point the BU professor makes, to her behavior. To paraphrase Greta Christina, outspoken feminist, antitheist, LGBTQ advocate, "The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks." It seems that tactic has become the preferred topic of conversation here again (not with regard to atheism, but the sentiment works for both I think). Is the BU professor right, or is she a jerk? And is one basing an opinion on the sound bites, or on all the information that is available?

 

 

But we (white people) do have a collective identity. It may be harder to see because it's the most common perception of society, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Let me share a personal example, if I may. I noticed a shift in my own perceptions about society some years ago when my daughter told me she's a lesbian. Suddenly I had noticed that movies we watched together, books we read, advertisements anywhere, all images in society we've been bombarded with since childhood are very comfortably set to appeal to the image of America as a family-friendly society. Family friendly is was, by default, organized through the imagery and expectations of heterosexual couples in love. Heck, ever since she was a little girl I reinforced that idea to her. Granted, heterosexual couples are by far the most predominant group statistically speaking so this makes sense, but it became awkward to me to see just how pervasive is the image of a heterosexual society as by default the "normal" way. I didn't think of myself as a part of the collective identity of heterosexuals, but neither did my daughter. The difference is I am, regardless of whether or not I am aware of this (I am now).

 

I think being aware of my own privileges helps me support her in general, not just in matters of love and romance. She wanted to know if the college campus she'll be attending is gay friendly, or will she have to hide a relationship? She's not one to hide, so does that mean she might be putting herself in danger? The matter is no longer one of love and romance, but of personal safety. These are things I was privileged to never have to consider. I could hold my bf's hand as we walked down the city street. I could give him a lingering kiss. I could hug him in public and never worry about what a passerby might think or do. That's a privilege I wasn't aware of, but benefited from nevertheless. I don't think it's inappropriate to recognize privilege when we enjoy it. That doesn't mean I want to give up this privilege, it means I want those I love to enjoy it, too. I think this is where the conversation ought to be going. How can we recognize precisely what it is we, white America, have taken for grated as being a part of The Way Things Are, and offer those same things to our friends, family, neighbors, and community of color?

But no one here said female professors are jerks or AA female professors are jerks. People said this one person tweeted hateful comments that throw into doubt her ability to fairly assess and treat all students.

I think that may be another part of the miscommunication. Several of us are discussing this one individual's behavior while several others are discussing systemic problems. Two different issues.

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Yes, sorry my reply was not clear. I believe her statement, that white people who said they got it were racists, was not true.

 

I was not trying to question what actually happened in your conversation.

 

I don't think a white person who claims to "get" the Baltimore riots is racist because they wouldn't expect that of white people.

 

I think many white people don't know how black people can stand the oppressive racism in this country and many white people feel equally oppressed by poverty, though in a different way.

 

I know people personally who sing along passionately... "let it burn, let it burn".

 

We didn't build this, after all. It's not our. Nothing to lose.

 

Lots of people get that.

 

I'm replying to your acquaintance's statement, not trying to school you. :)

 

Thanks for clarifying, and FTR, I don't know her, she was a student at a college and produced the video as a class project. 

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But no one here said female professors are jerks or AA female professors are jerks. People said this one person tweeted hateful comments that throw into doubt her ability to fairly assess and treat all students.

I think that may be another part of the miscommunication. Several of us are discussing this one individual's behavior while several others are discussing systemic problems. Two different issues.

 

A handful of people find the statements  challenging: and interestingly provocative as a way to talk about race in a 'shoes on the other foot' sense.   A handful of others find them hateful or "overly emotional". It's that viewpoint which dismisses her point without giving it a thought:  let's not talk about what she is saying, let's instead talk about her right to say such things.   They think it's obvious that she shouldn't be allowed to talk that way and keep her job.  But the thing is,  her job IS to talk about race.  The question of judging a group vs judging individuals is a complex one. A great topic for discussion in college classes. If she's not "allowed" to talk about both lenses-- that would be unfortunate. It would kill discussion rather than foster it.

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A handful of people find the statements  challenging: and interestingly provocative as a way to talk about race in a 'shoes on the other foot' sense.   A handful of others find them hateful or "overly emotional". It's that viewpoint which dismisses her point without giving it a thought:  let's not talk about what she is saying, let's instead talk about her right to say such things.   They think it's obvious that she shouldn't be allowed to talk that way and keep her job.  But the thing is,  her job IS to talk about race.  The question of judging a group vs judging individuals is a complex one. A great topic for discussion in college classes. If she's not "allowed" to talk about both lenses-- that would be unfortunate. It would kill discussion rather than foster it.

 

It's my job to raise kids, but that doesn't mean I can raise them any way I want without losing my job. If I do certain things, CPS will take them away.

 

FTR, I'm not saying she should lose her job. I'm just saying your argument is flawed.

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I don't think what she said would be all that different from what other AA studies professors would say. I don't mean that in a bad way, I just don't find it all that shocking or unusual.

 

I find it fairly typical for some professors to use provocative language in order to encourage debate or people to think outside the box. If my kid had this professor her comments would not bother me, I would expect to hear such things in that type of class.

 

People should expect to have their worldview challenged in college.

 

It would not in any way impact any decision I would make about the school.

 

I do NOT think she should lose her job.

 

This lady has nothing on my Women in Medieval Europe professor. :lol: I was TERRIFIED in that class. :lol:

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A handful of people find the statements challenging: and interestingly provocative as a way to talk about race in a 'shoes on the other foot' sense. A handful of others find them hateful or "overly emotional". It's that viewpoint which dismisses her point without giving it a thought: let's not talk about what she is saying, let's instead talk about her right to say such things. They think it's obvious that she shouldn't be allowed to talk that way and keep her job. But the thing is, her job IS to talk about race. The question of judging a group vs judging individuals is a complex one. A great topic for discussion in college classes. If she's not "allowed" to talk about both lenses-- that would be unfortunate. It would kill discussion rather than foster it.

I think I see what you are saying. Let me see if I can clarify my point. I was arguing that as a professor I do not believe she should be blaming an entire group of people and saying such things about a group - whatever group that is. I would be just as concerned if a white woman said it about black men, etc. I am not upset because she said something about white people. Discuss white privilege, the racial history of our country, etc. in a class. That is fine. That is academic and can help people see other view points. Tweeting "white people get your *^%# together" - is not starting a dialogue. It is creating a hostile environment. I don't find that acceptable. Not because she is black. Not because she is a sociology professor. Because she is a professor in a position of power over students. Would you be ok with a professor tweeting similar content against gay marriage or would you see that as creating a hostile environment or as trying to open a dialogue? Not snark. Real question to try to understand your pov.

 

I could agree with you if this has been a video of her class that some student had taped to try to catch her in racist comments and portray her poorly. Then I would be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt saying that the student cherry picked parts where she was bringing up different points of view, etc. But that isn't the case here.

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Tweeting "white people get your *^%# together" - is not starting a dialogue. It is creating a hostile environment. I don't find that acceptable.

 

Oh come on. It's basically "get your act together".   It's not hostile.  It's  a really tired old joke.  I think college kids would get that.  See also http://imgur.com/gallery/XwNnDand http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/04/25-white-people-looking-ridiculously-inept-in-infomercials/

 

 

 

Would you be ok with a professor tweeting similar content against gay marriage or would you see that as creating a hostile environment or as trying to open a dialogue? Not snark. Real question to try to understand your pov.

Well, a whole lot of people in positions of power do say a whole lot of things against gay marriage without losing their jobs. Like, say, the legislature of Texas. And a whole lot of professors, too, in Utah for example. 

 

But I don't think the analogy holds, because I think those people in power genuinely do believe that gay marriage is a bad thing. I do not believe this professor hates white males. She's advocating through provocation.  And if the Texas and Utah folks I mentioned win, gay people will not be able to get married. That is a very big deal in a lot of people's lives.  If this lady's tweets are successful, students will be challenged to think about race... which is not a horrible thing.  So, different circumstances, different goals. 

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But no one here said female professors are jerks or AA female professors are jerks. People said this one person tweeted hateful comments that throw into doubt her ability to fairly assess and treat all students.

I think that may be another part of the miscommunication. Several of us are discussing this one individual's behavior while several others are discussing systemic problems. Two different issues.

 

In this thread, people have speculated that this particular black, female professor may be "somewhat dysfunctional," "racist," ("overtly" so), a possible race "supremacist." She's perhaps "crazy," and certainly "immature." In addition to her character, the intent attributed to her tweets are offered to shed light on her supposedly unsavory character. Her intent, according to some posters here, seems to be to encourage black students (and white?) to see white people in general as an enemy ("the problem"). "These types" of people work to underscore civilization as we know it. And this is just on page one of this thread. 

 

These are all character issues that contribute to a "jerk" like status. While no one used that word, I chose the quote in which it was used because it makes my point - the focus of attention has been shifted from the message to the character of the messenger. That's a lamentable distraction. 

 

If the topic is her ability to fairly assess and treat students, then by what evidence do people assume she does not? What possible data do people have with regards to her treatment of students individually or collectively? What other than the character assessment, as derived by carefully crafted sound bites created for reasons of profit, do people come to their conclusions about how she treats students? 

 

What she's talking about is of paramount importance. An equal society is far more stable and secure and enjoys more benefits than an unstable society. When we as a society value equality, and yet chose to ignore egregious offenses against equality, it behooves us all to be reminded of our goals, and of the virtues we celebrate and honor.  We can't do that if we're chasing bunny trails, and attacking a person's character is an unfortunate, but all too predictable bunny trail in this Great Conversation of western civilization. And when people willfully ignore egregious offenses against such a self-identified ideal as equality, how do changes get made? Unless, that is, equality is a privilege extended only to a certain kind of person. And if that's the case, is it justified to refuse to plead to the good will of one who refuses to recognize his role as the oppressor? Was the War of American Independence waged over any less noble cause? But we're not talking about war here, we're talking about refusing to be polite, refusing to mind one's place, refusing to wait patiently for an oppressive regime to give up privilege. We're talking about refusing to use honey again when nothing short of vinegar catches some people's attention. 

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A handful of people find the statements  challenging: and interestingly provocative as a way to talk about race in a 'shoes on the other foot' sense.   A handful of others find them hateful or "overly emotional". It's that viewpoint which dismisses her point without giving it a thought:  let's not talk about what she is saying, let's instead talk about her right to say such things.   They think it's obvious that she shouldn't be allowed to talk that way and keep her job.  But the thing is,  her job IS to talk about race.  The question of judging a group vs judging individuals is a complex one. A great topic for discussion in college classes. If she's not "allowed" to talk about both lenses-- that would be unfortunate. It would kill discussion rather than foster it.

 

Right, it is - in an appropriate and edifying way.   In a way that moves the dialog along.  Twitter is simply not the way to do it.  She didn't invite dialog; she just spewed commentary. 

 

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