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

by Annica Benning - Arizona State University on October 15, 2013


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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  • 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?

  • David

    How many white people advised Ghengis Khan? Learn to have an intellectual discussion before making yourself look like the fool you obviously are.

  • marque2

    Jesus was among proto Middle Easterners – how many white people were at the table with Jesus – probably 0 including Jesus himself. Unless you think middle easterners are white.

  • Ghosty

    “This is a disgrace to higher education. Higher education is about encouraging free thinking and discussion, not creating a liberal indoctrination factory.”

    What are you talking about? “Liberal indoctrination factory?” Are you kidding me?

    No one is prohibiting you from engaging in “free thinking and discussion.” Why are you in default attack mode against the school? You have a bad experience with one professor and you generalize the entire school system as liberal indoctrination?

    The professor expressed an idea and you call it a “tangent.” Then you complain about free thinking? Does that only apply to you?

    You cry foul and make a claim to “free thinking and discussion” yet YOU are the one who claims to be offended by the ideas expressed by this professor.

    So what is it? Are you claiming the college/professor is insensitive to your little world? Or are you upset b/c you have been prohibited from engaging in free thinking and discussion. (you haven’t; that is the point)

    Do you not see the irony in your comment? Really, it isn’t that difficult to see the obvious fallacy.

    A true liberal education is where you are taught HOW to think not what to think.

    Sorry to burst your bubble but you aren’t in high school any more. An institution of higher learning will expose you to ideas that will shake the foundation of your nurtured education.

    That is the beauty of diversity.

  • M_Becker

    The question is “diversity”, not “color”. The question is not as you posed it (since you are a poseur), rather the question should be about the diversity of Khan’s advisers. The likelihood is that Khan didn’t have carve outs for Europeans or anybody else.

    Learn to read before pretending you can participate in any kind of discussion. You’re the fool. Perhaps an affirmative action graduate/hire?

  • marque2

    Note on Ghengis Khan, progressive revisionists now call him a hero for his fight against global warming.


  • pumped_up_kicks

    have a point before you hit “post”…it makes the exercise so much more enjoyable for the reader.

  • marque2

    I have to say I can understand David’s confusion as I thought the same thing myself. But you keyed in on diversity, where I read in white. Thank you for clarifying.

  • marque2

    I am not sure what your point is. The University is also suppose to offer protection to students from abuse. The University is also suppose to make sure a diverse and wide spectrum of viewpoints is being taught.

    Having gone to a University myself, I can attest to the fact that the discussion always seemed pretty much one sided, esp when the discussions got off topic. It was especially bad from the professors who felt they had to be “cool” so they would tell us “cool” left wing ideas that appeal to youth.

    Anyway, when you read about something like this you should reverse the situation and think what would happen. What if the professor said Black people aren’t as well off because they are “lowbrow” (in many more words). Do you think the Dean would have a concern then. You betcha. And that is the rub. We have certain groups (Non white / non Asians and esp non Christian/Jew) who are afforded extra protection and sensibility and you have walk on pins for them, but say something completely rash about the others and it elicits a yawn. That isn’t the way it is suppose to be.

    At my University, they had the Palestinian Union, which somehow was the student club that received the most student funding. They would stand on a podium about once a week and bash Jews and Israel. No one said anything. A few years after I graduated Anti Jew graffiti was plastered over campus – again, ho hum. It made the news, but the the journalists and administration explained it away as not a big deal. Image if there were anti Palestinian/Muslim graffiti scrawled on the same campus.

  • ChuckNoland

    Except if you possess very liberal ideas to start with and then you will never be exposed to new ideas or be challenged to have your foundation shook. That is the point going over your head apparently.

  • katon51

    Love the fister icon.

  • GeorgiaPeachie

    Riiight!! Because libs are such free thinkers! LMAO! Libs only want to indoctrinate. THEY DON’T WANT AN OPEN DISCUSSION. Just like this idiot at AZ. He didn’t ask for any other viewpoints! He made statements. The dean didn’t even allow this student to tell their story!! There was no back and forth discussion. You are delusional.

  • LeighLeigh

    Conservatives are never allowed to speak at universities. NEVER. The little fascist indoctrination factory is alive and well and run by old washed up baby boomer hippies who couldn’t succeed in the private sector with their women’s studies degrees…..

  • Calvin of KU

    Let me tell you about a couple of my college experiences and then you can cheer diversity. One of my instructors on the Civil War has written a paper about the Tea Party violently taking over a South Carolina town and declaring a state of rebellion. I asked her when did the Tea Party become violent and her response was she had to had some villain. I mentioned Occupy who has been violent and she said that she didn’t think that would work. In class she also tried to “teach” some Civil War reenactors (me being one) about the weapons used in the Civil War. What do you expect from someone who was an aid to a democratic Congresswoman in California before moving to KU. The other was a teacher telling the class about how awful the US had acted in Somalia under Bush. We weren’t there to feed the people but to enslave them for exploitation. I disagreed since they have nothing to take and she wanted to know where I got my opinion from. I told her from my time in Mogadishu with the US Navy in 1992-1993. She shut up after that and was very careful about taking my questions. Some active duty guys in the class came by and congratulated me for standing up to her. They couldn’t because they needed the grade. I have more stories about other teachers but those two seem to be the most entertaining.

  • Phil McMorrow

    What? With all the methane gas expelled from the collective anus of Khan’s mounted troops and calvary animals, , I think The Alleged Global Warming was his fault.
    What did the DailyMail say about the hundreds of thousands of innocents slain by the Khan? Let me hazard a guess…..Absolutely nothing, right?

  • marque2

    That is a lovely sentiment, but it rarely happens. Most of what you get in a University is left wing dogma, and hatred toward whites, Asians, Christians and Jews.

    I am not sure I could be engaged by anti-Semite views of some nutty professor. But if you can more power to you.

    Besides, you should actually read the diary of the Pilgrims, it is much more interesting and much different than what we were taught as kids, or as lefties or righties would put it. And they did indeed come in peace, with the Indians trying to get them to become allies in their Indian wars.

  • Pepperspray137

    problem with leftist thinking is, Theysee a corrupt education system breeding only ignorance and still point to the right as the culprits. After the finger pointing they spout off on their soap boxes about how their ideas spawn new
    thinking and conservative ideas are “old” and “ignorant.”
    Having higher education dominated by leftists isn’t a problem when you’re a leftist, it only means you get high grades and smiley faces on your paper. The problem is, they are still thinking the exact same way leftists were thinking 200 years ago, but repackage it with fresh
    new personalities who say the same thing (usually while holding 100 year old French Sociology papers and quoting Marx). The left will then accuse the right as using old archaic doctrines when they look to the constitution. In a public university there should indeed be a diverse array of philosophies, however there are not. I’m not editorializing I am speaking from the experience of someone who has either attended or lived with a loved one who attended schools of higher education in several parts of America and in Korea.

  • Eli Odell Jackson

    so did your professor ever profess another view that America is not vile and evil?
    I look at these universities and you don’t represent one iota of an American man,
    you’re not, and as long as you act in your ignorance you never will
    go sip some latte cityboy, tell yourself you’re a moral man
    oops, I mean person, leftists don’t believe in manhood

  • LeighLeigh

    But the problem is this: there are NO opposing views on the faculty side. Colleges have been allowed to have folks who run them dictate what kids are taught and God forbid you wear a cowboy or indian costume for Halloween….see how disjointed my comment is? That is the type of educated derelicts I’m getting in interviews who can’t think themselves out of a wet paper bag. They don’t understand basic free market principles or basic Econ 101.

  • Retired vet

    You are full of shit. That’s the concise version.

    “A university is a place of higher learning. That means being exposed to ideas, even extreme ones, that turn your nurtured education upside down.”

    Give me an example of a conservative or real life point of view given by a college professor and I will give you the detailed version…

  • pumped_up_kicks

    yeah, those jews look just like arabs…

  • marque2

    Those Jews were Arababic in looks. It wasn’t until the 20th century that we started seeing a lot of white Jews in the area. There are also black Jews in Ethiopia who have been.proven to be from the Cohen line. Don’t know why you think Jews and early Christians were all white.

  • pumped_up_kicks

    and you probably think jesus was a capricorn…you need to re-read your bible and the differences between esau and jacob.

  • marque2

    I am sure he had pasty white skin and long blond hair and was completely clean shaven like in the movies – not. And no he definitely Capricorn he was born in March or September because those are the times the Shepard’s would be in the fields. Anyhow here is an article with a hypothesis of how he looked.

  • Spencer Jacobson

    Yes, that’s precisely who teaches Physics, Chem, Bio… you know the things you don’t believe in… it’s people with degrees in Women’s Studies.

  • AdamRadzik22

    Yeah, when I think about ‘college’, I’m glad I was a pure science student. I rarely had to deal with much liberal crap. When chem professors would end up talking politics, it was around 50/50 on both major political sides.