Recently, an African American professor named Saida Grundy was hired to teach at Boston University. She got in trouble for writing the following things on Twitter about white people: "Why is white America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?”
[Martin Luther King Jr.] week I commit myself to not spending a dime in
white-owned businesses. And every year [I] find it nearly impossible.”
“...in other words,
deal with your white sh*t [sic], white people. Slavery is a *YALL*
On Twitter several people wrote #IStandwithSaida in support of her "message," claiming that she wasn't being racist; she was only "stating the truth."
I for one do NOT stand with Saida. I think what she said was incredibly racist. She's also misinformed, because even Africans owned slaves, though admittedly they did not all treat them in the same way that American slave owners treated their slaves.
Boston University criticized her comments, but they did not fire or discipline her in any way. Saida Grundy later "apologized" for her statements, though it sounded less like an apology and more like an attempt to rationalize her vitriol. This bothered me, especially because I know that if I said those things, they wouldn't even consider hiring me for a full-time lecturer position.
Later, a white male professor at Duke got in trouble for saying the following things:
He said that Asians “didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard” after experiencing discrimination in this country.
He also said, “Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that
symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every
black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for
integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely
will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost non-existent
because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white."
Do I agree with what Professor Jerry Hough said? NO. But what bothers me is that the people who were so quick to defend Saida Grundy are now attacking Jerry Hough and calling for him to be fired.
Both professors made generalizations about race, implying/assuming that their statements applied to ALL the people from those groups. They're both wrong. I also think that the same people who were upholding the importance of freedom of speech in their defense of Saida Grundy are hypocrites for attacking Jerry Hough for exercising his right to freedom of speech.
The primary reason I never revealed my name or my face on this blog is because I don't want to get in trouble for what I write. I don't think I've ever written anything that controversial or offensive on this blog, but we are living in an era where everyone is hyper-alert about what's "politically correct" and what's not, and people get offended by almost everything. Teachers cannot even discipline their students anymore without getting verbally attacked by the students' parents or fired by their employers.
As a teacher, I have been falsely accused of racism. A student sent me several nasty e-mails, accusing me of racism, because I only included one book by an African American author on the syllabus for the literature class he was enrolled in. He tried to get me fired by badmouthing me all over the department, though the other professors took my side. I didn't include more African American authors because I also included books by other minorities; there wasn't time to include more. But that student was convinced I was a racist, and he said he felt "victimized" as a result. I refused to back down to him.
Another student informed me that I was racist for including one of Mark Twain's books on my curriculum, due to his use of the n-word. I don't condone the use of that word, but I think there is a lot more to his work than that. Not to mention that student failed to notice or understand Twain's critiques of racism and discrimination in his books. I refused to back down to that student, too.
I understand that it's important to be careful about what I say, especially because I am a teacher. Teachers are held to a different standard, and we can't say or do whatever we want without worrying about how it will affect our reputations or even our jobs.
It bothers me that some people have become so hyper-sensitive about what's politically correct and what's not that they will bully me, scream at me, threaten me, or try to get me fired if I say or do one thing that they don't like. I am NOT and have never been a racist. I do not have a problem with people from other races. I have a problem with people using race as an excuse to attack others.
What about you? What do you think about political correctness? Have you ever been falsely accused of being politically incorrect?
Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2012 (repost) - iatus! (thank you to Magali Studer for the drop cap!) Following my happy announcement from a few months ago, life has gotten extra busy! I'm going to be ...
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