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What I Learned in Comparative Politics: White People Exploit All Others

OPINION

Earlier this year, my Arizona State University government professor told my class that white people are successful because they have exploited all other people, and that Americans are not all born equal because of slavery.

When I complained about the comments to the college dean, she dismissed my concerns, pointing out I had on a Brooks Brothers shirt. I’ve haven’t heard from her since.

Previously I shared my experience with a dozen or so people and on my personal blog, but the more I thought about it, the more I believed it is a story that needs to be retold among a broader audience. This was not easy to write, but I hope it helps others in similar situations.

Here it goes:

SPRING 2013, PHOENIX – I had recently switched my major to political science after working on a few campaigns over the summer. Being a bit late to the political science game, I had to take a few introductory, freshmen-level classes. One such class was POS150, Comparative Politics.

It was only the second day of our comparative politics class when the professor, Michael Mitchell, went off on an unrelated tangent about race while discussing our syllabus. He told us white people are successful because they have exploited all other people, and that Americans are not all born equal because of slavery.

His comments were not simply offensive to every white person sitting in that classroom, they insulted every American entrepreneur and innovator of any skin color who’s strived to make a better life for his or her family.

I wanted to raise my hand and offer another opinion, but I was scared. I had already seen another person in my class disagree with one of his comments and it did not go well for him, so I sat in silence. Yet I couldn’t shake my feelings of disgust and offense by his comments, especially because they were stated as fact.

So I set up a meeting with Barbara Colby, dean of the school of Politics and Global Studies. I walked into her office and sat down, determined to tell this story. I began by explaining that I had a professor who made some very offensive, racist comments in class.

She sat up in her seat and looked interested.

“Racist?” she asked me, her eyebrows raised in apparent shock.

“Yes,” I confirmed.

I began to tell her my concerns and explained that because of his comments I chose to withdraw from the class and now must either pay to take the class at a community college or pay additional tuition to take it over the summer.

As soon as I got to, “white people are successful,” she sat back in her seat and interrupted me mid-sentence: “Well, I see that you’re wearing a Brooks Brothers shirt. And (the professor’s) comments would be appropriate if they were in a discussion-based setting.”

I could not believe her words. Should I have shown up in sweatpants and a T-shirt to meet with the dean? How did a polo shirt dismiss my concerns?

As for her defense of Professor Mitchell, his remarks were not given during a discussion-based setting. They were presented as a fact in a freshman-level course, which all political science students are required to take.

At this point I saw her getting up in her chair. She handed me her card and said, “I’ll look into it and get back to you.” Look into what? She didn’t even give me an opportunity to finish telling her what Professor Mitchell said. I walked out dumbfounded and broken. There is nothing worse than feeling that you do not have a voice.

As this event happened many months ago, I’ve had time to wait and see what would unfold.

To this date I have not received any correspondence from Dean Colby regarding my concerns. I took the POS150 equivalent at a community college. It was money well spent. Professor Mitchell remains a professor at Arizona State teaching comparative politics. He did not respond to my recent requests for comment. Seeking an update from Dean Colby, I was informed she retired over the summer.

Ironically, it is Professor Mitchell who is successful. He holds a doctorate and works as a scholar at a large university. It is wrong that people such as this man divide everything. Rich and poor, black and white. They sit in the ivory tower of academia and live to breed race-based discontent.

Arizona State is a publicly funded research institution, yet in many cases students are only fed one political viewpoint. This is a disgrace to higher education. Higher education is about encouraging free thinking and discussion, not creating a liberal indoctrination factory.

Fix contributor Annica Benning is a student at Arizona State University.

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Add to the Discussion

  • Ari Mendelson

    You’d like my book. It’s about left wing indoctrination at colleges. It’s called “Bias Incident: the World’s Most Politically Incorrect Novel.”

  • makag

    according to the left only whites can be racist. you are racist if you disagree with obama, you are a misogynist if you don’t vote for hilary clinton, you are an obstructionist if you support the government shut down. liberals make titles for people that don’t agree with them and they think they are heroes for titling the opposite side when in reality they are destroying this country

  • David – Class of 85

    Somethings don’t change. I am an ASU graduate, class of ’85. I used to get in all kinds of arguments with the leftist professors. I really hated it when you had to by their 6 books for the class. I was a 24 yr old freshman after my hitch in the Navy.

  • Wyck Holland

    Just ask Oprah Winfrey, Kenye West, Arsenio Hall, Tiger Woods, 90% of the NFL and NBA and thousands of other super-wealthy blacks about oppression. They will tell you just how much white people have held them back, kept them from their dreams.

    • Spencer Jacobson

      Rich white people sign the checks of all of those people except Oprah…. big difference between being rich and wealthy.

  • spin43

    But don’t get too close to the Red House or you may be executed.

  • ChuckNoland

    As someone with a poly sci degree I might suggest you learn to take a different tack. It will require to be able to ask these questions with a very serious face. Next time ask him who the Japanese exploited to achieve their success and who the Chinese are now exploiting to achieve theirs?

  • Betsy Smith

    I thought my son would avoid indoctrination of this type by attending our local community college, but no.
    He is a very intelligent young man and it pains him to listen to such tripe, but it is the price he will pay for a degree.

  • James Linnstrom

    I wish some students made YouTube clip of this racist professor and posted it on the internet. Let people know their tax dollars at work !!

  • LeighLeigh

    If you want to be a millionaire, you don’t need college.

    • Spencer Jacobson

      If you don’t go to college you need a genius idea…you’re referring to the exceptions. But I’m pretty sure you know that and are simply making an asinine point.

  • Jeanne

    I admire your courage. My son just switched his major from English to Accounting because the core curriculum focused on Multicultural and Feminist literature nearly to the exclusion of classic literature.The emphasis on white male guilt as one of the few white males in the class was insulting and overwhelming. This was so disappointing. My son is an avid reader of diverse literature and a gifted writer but the environment was toxic.

    More parents and students must speak up. Opinions are being taught as fact, dissent is disparaged and ridiculed. How can students possibly learn critical thinking if there is only one perspective allowed.Teachers must also be held accountable for sticking to the subject matter they are paid by students to teach. They must be penalized for wasting our time and money by using class time to promote their personal political agendas.

    Thanks for having the courage to stand up.Please keep readers posted on the progress. You did not get what you paid for and deserve a refund. The school owns you an apology. The teacher deserves to be penalized. Perhaps a few articles in the local papers might help draw attention to the problem if only by embarassing this school and raising questions from others.

    • Paula

      As an accountant, I will tell you your son made a wonderful decision. Not only will he have a much more marketable degree, he won’t have to sit through leftist lectures on race and diversity. Accounting classes are black & white (no pun intended), as debits always must equal credits.

      • Jeanne

        Thanks for the encouragement Paula. No accountants in this family so we appreciate your feedback. My son made the decision for precisely the reasons you provided.

  • alanauer

    We can guess how that dean got her job.

  • One Hung Low

    White men have a target on their backs. The college professors are teaching dumbed down version of “History as I see it….” the problem is that the real history is far more interesting and complex than they can explain. I have been out of college for 30 years and I am still learning the whole story of slavery, the civil war, money, power, they are all complex subjects that take skill and talent to teach. Of course it pretty easy to ‘just blame whitey” for all the misery in the world.

  • Locris11

    Yep, I am where I am at due to exploiting others.
    Being a white male, the most evil of the race, I started off by exploiting my drunk absentee white father. Then I moved on to my white mother who was high all the time on valium. But it was OK, the doctor prescribed it.
    I thought about being of a similar type, drunk all the time or on drugs. I thought maybe both, but didn’t feel empowered enough to be sucessful at both.
    Lucky for me, I found a group of people who told there was no way I could even be a drunk,, as the deck was stacked against and all other sorts of things were deliberately placed in my path to prevent me from becoming a successful loser.
    OK so wanting to emulate my parents finding this group is fiction, the rest, not so much.
    No S on my chest.
    Took a job that took me around the world a few times.
    The prof and the administrator in this article need to spend a few years overseas.
    SInce the Balkans are not the hell on the Earth they used to be, might I suggest Syria.
    Or if open civil war is not your thing, North Korea is very calm.
    Take some sycophants with you, I would love to hear the theories on dress and how it relates to starvation.
    Only in a country so rich can people be such idiots.

  • Tony

    I’m a professor, so I can translate what she said. “Go to hell,” she explained.
    You are seriously mistaken if you think that such professors think. They are demagogues; they have one idea, and one alone. They are like the loons who stand on soapboxes and preach that the world is going to come to an end because of fluoride. They don’t read history. They are not really well educated…

  • fr0thing

    Transfer to Grand Canyon University the fastest growing university in Arizona. 🙂

  • FactCheck?

    Barbara Colby is not even associated with the Political Science department. Perhaps bring up your grievances with the actual dean?

    “Barbara Colby is responsible for administers the integrated studies degree program, which requires separate admission and a higher grade requirement than other liberal arts and sciences degrees. Colby administers and serves ex officio on the college’s Student Affairs and Grievance Committee, which, among other duties, hears cases of academic malfeasance.”

    • ASU09

      Dr. Colby oversaw student grievances at that time. I would just add that before I took my complaint beyond my Department, I was told not to bother by a high ranking professor, as students “never win.” It took nine months to exhaust all avenues of possible relief/resolution at ASU before Dr. Crow pronounced the matter closed…and, of course, I did not win. I believe this issue goes beyond the Political Science department at this university and is perhaps, indicative of student standing overall when it comes to challenging the Academy.

  • ASU09

    Thanks for this post. I also took a complaint to Dr. Colby, a part of which centered on what I felt was verbal abuse on the part of a particular professor. During our conversation Colby questioned why I didn’t just sue the University or “go somewhere else” if people were so “mean” at ASU. At the end of our discussion she promised to look into my case as well. The end result of her “investigation,” however, was a summary letter that displayed an astounding degree of ineptitude and indifference. I guess if you are a professor at ASU you can pretty much behave or speak as you wish.

  • Rain

    The claim that white people have exploited all other races is a fact, not an opinion. The claim that white people are the most successful group in America is an opinion, though it is ground in facts: For example of the Fortune 500 CEOs six are black, eight are latino, and eight are asian. OF COURSE, saying white people as a group are successful does NOT mean that all white people are successful. As a dirt poor white person I can attest to this.

    So what exactly has made you so incredibly furious? The fact that he tied exploitation to success? Or the fact that a professor with a doctorate didn’t stop to ask the opinion of his undergraduate students whom he was hired to teach?