05 June 2009

Racism is just silly.

Listening to: McLusky - Without MSG I Am Nothing

Blah blah blah, liver transplant, blah blah blah. I don't much want to talk about it yet.

So, I don't know if I ever wrote about this particular college experience of mine...I assume I must have because I was incensed about the whole event - so much so I dropped the class. Either way, the memory got dredged up, so I'll revisit it again with, hopefully, better writing.

My friend Clay posted a link to this article in google reader and I just got annoyed. I am not naive, not by a long shot. Racism is everywhere whether we like it or not. However, I have a great deal of misplace faith in the human race, it seems, because I still believe that people who are educated and are caring individuals would try to recognize when they participate in racism and try to correct their behavior. Seems reasonable, doesn't it? *sigh*

The attitude held by the administrators in the article further by the hell that is diversity quotas isn't only visible in the admissions process. I see it everywhere in the classes I've taken in at my university perpetuated by the professors and picked up by the tragically impressionable students. Here's my happy (read: infuriating) experience.

I took a class entitled "Racial and Ethnic Relations" my sophomore year of college. I was still a political science major at the time, so the class seemed relevant to my degree and I needed the unireg. One day the class was having a discussion about ethnicity specific dorm floors at certain universities. I was planning to take a backseat in the argument that day because it was already past my threshold of angry. (Thus far in my college career, I had learned something about my degree plan: Poli Sci classes are mainly comprised of militant, angry, and loud people who will take a side of an argument in a millisecond and fight tooth and nail for it, no matter how inane. We spent an entire class period arguing about the usefulness of the post office once... "We don't need the post office! This is the technology age!" "Yeah, and we, like, have fed-ex and stuff!" *facepalm* "Yeah, well I hate fed-ex!" /tangent ) The argument was this: "Race specific floors offer unity in a white dominated microsociety." vs. "Integrated floors are the only way to begin moving in directions to end racial stigmas." And anywhere in between. The argument wasn't progressing anywhere and was mostly just different, angry students reasserting their point with different semantics.

This was about half an hour into the class. Then, one of the usually quiet students (I wasn't one of those either. I spoke frequently, but I bounced from side to side and brought in new points as often as I could. More fun that way. It also kept the angry students from attacking my views outside of class. Some of them were wont to do that.) He asked, "If we have a black floor or a latino floor, is it also okay to have a floor of only students from agricultural families or all from Alaska?" He had a valid point. If the point of the floor is unity in an unfamiliar environment, why not groups of white students from different life situations as well as race-specific groups? The professor...ugh...her response was (verbatim), "When a group of black get together on a floor, it's about unity; when a group of whites get together on a floor, it's about excluding the black man."

The hell you say??? I'll never forget those words as long as I live. I couldn't even keep quiet anymore if I tried. Isn't that just condoning and even promoting racism?? Reverse racism is still racism and, yes, it is ever-present in the world, but any respectable educational institution should do its best to not only denounce such behavior, but also teach its students that a person is an individual, not simply skin or heritage. I'm pretty certain my argument fell on deaf ears and several of the angries who traditionally hung on her every word in the class set in to tear me apart for the rest of the hour.

Between that and the two Cs I'd gotten on papers earlier in the semester (which were, according to her, well written and well supported... Eh???), I'd had enough. I withdrew as fast as I could.

I don't have much of a conclusion for this... I still maintain my faith in humanity, despite it all. It's a lot easier to do as a teacher, I've found.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

hey steph-nee! hee hee :) i hope you are feeling better! i've been thinking about you. this post was entertaining to read and very thought provoking. you rock my FACE (on). ha ha ha i'm so funny.....