A Georgia state lawmaker has sent an inquiry to state colleges and universities asking if professors are teaching that white people are “privileged and oppressive.”
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GOP State Representative Emory Dunahoo’s questions “outraged” some faculty, but were supported by students who allege some faculty use materials which “mock white people.”
The students also said they weren’t allowed to take part in discussing affirmative action “because they’re white,” and some noted discomfort with a “white privilege test” in which they earned points merely because they had two parents at home.
All of the students who spoke up requested anonymity and informed the conservative organization Turning Point USA about their experiences, not the AJC directly, according to the report.
Dunahoo’s specific questions to college leaders were
1) Are any classes within the Georgia public school system or the University System of Georgia teaching students that possessing certain characteristics inherently designates them as either being “privileged” or “oppressed”?
2) Are any classes within the Georgia public school system or the University System of Georgia teaching students what constitutes “privilege” and “oppression”?
3) Are any classes within the Georgia public school system or the University System of Georgia teaching students who identify as white, male, heterosexual, or Christian are intrinsically privileged and oppressive, which is defined as “malicious or unjust” and “wrong”?
Matt Boedy, president of the American Association of University Professors’ Georgia chapter, slammed Dunahoo:
“The request is an attack on higher education. It perpetrates a pernicious agenda. I don’t know why a state representative who won his district by 40 points needs to throw red meat to his base, but this echoes national conservative discourse that has been laughed from the public square by historians and other experts.”
Georgia native Shaun Harper, founder of USC’s Race and Equity Center, said “It is educationally irresponsible to deny students the opportunity to learn the truth about America’s racial past and present.
“I have been teaching about whiteness, white fragility, white entitlement and white privilege over the entirety of my 18-year faculty career. Never once have I argued that all white people are evil. There are productive ways to teach about these issues without having white students feel attacked.”
(Two years ago, Harper would not tell The College Fix how he defines “equity.” USC’s Center for Urban Education defines it as “achieving parity in student educational outcomes, regardless of race and ethnicity” [emphasis added].)
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Joe Cohn chimed in saying “It’s a bad idea for either [political] side to try to impose its political perspective on controversial issues by deciding what can and can’t be taught.
“We have to be very careful about how we allow outside government actors into what is taught in the classrooms. The negatives to jeopardizing academic freedom are serious and profound.”