Because professor received unspecified ‘disturbing’ messages
How fitting that Florida Gulf Coast University called upon law enforcement to protect a class where students are taught that law enforcement is fundamentally racist.
The sociology professor teaching the “White Racism” class, Ted Thornhill, thought it was a bunch of hullabaloo, and students quoted by the News-Press said nothing troubling happened during the first session.
The administration panicked when Thornhill “received some disturbing emails and phone messages from people upset about the course,” according to the News-Press, which doesn’t detail the content of the messages. (Any professor who teaches this material and doesn’t receive critical messages from the public isn’t trying hard enough.)
When it first reported about the coming 50-student course in November, the paper said it was controversial because “at least one flier about the class was defaced” and a College Republicans official thought the course name should be “Systemic Racism.” (Indeed, Thornhill has said he tells students “I am not talking about your mama” but rather that “racism is systemic.”)
Not only were police officers stationed both inside and outside the hall where the class met Tuesday, but a media scrum was “waiting for the class to end and to talk with Thornhill and his students” about their experience … learning about the syllabus, course requirements and Thornhill’s expectations.
Look at this exciting coverage of going to class:
No protestors showed up outside Reed Hall. Students strolled by the building on the way to class Tuesday morning. Inside Reed Hall, students sat on couches on the first floor as they stared at their laptop and cell phone screens before the start of their classes.
It’s not the first university to station police outside an anti-white event: California State University-San Marcos did the same for its “Whiteness Forum” last year, part of a professor’s course on “Communication of Whiteness.”
Thornhill’s explicit motivation is to create activists out of students, he told the class Tuesday:
He said over the course of the semester the class will talk about ways white racism manifests across a range of institutions, including criminal justice, education, the workplace, families, romantic relationships and media. …
“Lastly, what we are going to do … is give students an opportunity to learn about ways to challenge and push back against a system … that discriminates and marginalizes and trivializes people who are not racialized as white,” he said.
He said he’ll also use the “disturbing” emails and voicemails he received as part of the class.
Thornhill told the News-Press in November that he decided the teach the course – which has a long-running precursor at the University of Connecticut – because of student demand for “more classes on race and racism.”
He admitted the title was “provocative” but said it clearly specified that the class would not tell students “it wasn’t OK to be white.”
Here’s the full course description:
In this course, we will interrogate the concept of race; examine the racist ideologies, laws, policies, and practices that have operated for hundreds of years to maintain white racial domination over those racialized as non-white; and discuss ways to challenge white racism and white supremacy toward promoting an anti-racist society where whiteness is not tied to greater life chances.
h/t New York Post