We are not talking about all white people, or you white people in general. We are talking about whiteness as a system of oppression.
– Professor Shannon Gibney, an English professor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, during an in-class discussion about white privilege. Issues involving Professor Gibney have given rise to student complaints, faculty reprimands, and litigation….)
The trouble began in English professor Shannon Gibney’s Introduction to Mass Communications class at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Though the class ostensibly has little to do with race, Gibney considers herself an activist on racial issues, and frequently invokes white privilege and oppression during class time, according to her students. (She has previously taught classes on race and gender.)
Recently, several white students announced that they had had enough with Gibney’s incessant racial screed. They interrupted her during a lecture, and said, “Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we have to talk about this?” according to Gibney’s account of the incident, which was recorded by the City College News.
This isn’t the first such complaint about Professor Gibney. As one of her former students put it on Rate My Professor, “I thought I was taking english, not racism 101.”
But she has her defenders as well. As Tressie McMillan Cottom writes on Slate:
[W]hen Gibney led a discussion on structural racism in her mass communication class, three white students filed a discrimination complaint because it made them feel uncomfortable. This time, MCTC reprimanded Gibney under their anti-discrimination policy.
Elevating discomfort to discrimination mocks the intent of the policy, but that’s not the whole of it. By sanctioning Gibney for making students uncomfortable, MCTC is pushing a disturbing higher-education trend. When colleges and universities become a market, there is no incentive to teach what customers would rather not know. When colleges are in the business of making customers comfortable, we are all poorer for it.
As for the litigation, Professor Gibney and six of her colleagues are suing MCTC, alleging that the school is a discriminatory workplace for people of color — a system of oppression, some might say….
WELL, IT’S ALWAYS WRONG TO MAKE STUDENTS FEEL “UNCOMFORTABLE” ON GROUNDS OF RACE [Instapundit]
White students fed up with black professor’s racial screeds, lawsuits fly [Daily Caller]
The Discomfort Zone [Slate]