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Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm a Racist?

Talk about a buzz word in society today. Being a racist or sexist today is pretty much unexplainable. These two categories are reserved for only the most ignorant of people. Evidently, though, I fall into both of those categories; well, at least according to one person.

I know you're wondering what in the world happened to cause something like that to happen. Good news for you, I'm going to tell you. Wednesday I walked into one of the classrooms on the Philosophy Department floor to put down my cup of coffee at a seat before going to get a few things out of my office. Almost as soon as I walked in (before I could even let go of my cup) the professor that was still in there from the previous class started yelling at me for not waiting until her class was finished. Now, if she was in the middle of lecturing I could understand. If she was still talking to a few students I could understand, if was just talking to one student I could understand. But, she was not. The classroom door was open as far as it could be open and no one was in the room except her. I didn't say anything to her, didn't even make a noise other than my shoes hitting the floor (and I am pretty ninja-like, so that was minimal).

So where does the racist, sexist stuff come in? Right here. After yelling at me for rudely interrupting her class (which was not meeting mind you), she asked, "If I were a white male, would you have came in her!?" (FYI; she is a black female professor in the English department) Which in response I exclaimed, "What are you talking about!". She then said, "Well, it's just a product of your poor upbringing." And that's when I lost it. I'm not sure what all was said in the next few minutes, but I do remember (after she told me to "just leave") telling her that she doesn't get to play the race and sexist card and then just expect me to walk away. I was so furious I was shaking. The entire floor heard our er...um...'conversation' and when I did leave she went to the department chair's office and yelled at him for the next 10 minutes. I haven't seen her again since the incident, but I'm sure it'll be interesting when I do.

The whole scenario got me thinking, she accused me of being degrading to minority woman on the basis that I'm a white male. Now, I gave her no reason to think that (walking into a classroom is hardly grounds for implying someone is a sexist and a racist), she made her decision based upon my gender and my race. Now if that isn't exactly what is required to be called a sexist and a racist, I don't know what is. I made no judgment about her until after she started yelling, and my judgments from then on had nothing to do with her race or gender.

Now I don't want to trivialize the fact that many minorities do face all sorts of crap, especially in large institutions. What is unfortunate for those that do experience hardships based on race, gender, etc. is that people like her make it easy to downplay and trivialize the actual instances of racism and sexism. I know it will be difficult for many in our department to take seriously the next account of someone being treated like crap because of sex or gender. I pray that whatever is going on in this woman's life to cause her to react in such a way be removed (and/or healed) and that she can begin to see people for who they actually are, and not images she might project on them.

4 comments:

Jenn Crone said...

Okay, so I was intrigued by your bulletin so I popped on over to read this...I can't believe that she said all of that! I just don't understand people sometimes. I just pray that God watches over any contact you may have with this professor in the future.

chad grubbs said...

dang. was that my mom? sorry, i thought i locked her up in the basement. seriously, call me so we can hang. I take showers now so you won't have to sit next to the stinky guy anymore. You should mail that lady Dave Chappel skit with the black kkk member. talk to you later

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul. I know that it has been forever since we have seen each other...much-less even said hi to each other, but it is cool to see how far you have gone in that lost time. I hope and pray for total grace, mercy, and favor in all that you and your wife do!!
Much Love....Krista

Bill said...

How did your department chair react? Has he or she brought it up with you since then?