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My name is: Michelle, but most people call me Dark online.
My gender-pronouns are: They/them/their.
I am: 27 years old, a feminist, an atheist, an omnivore, and an ISFJ.
The Feminist: Intersectional, body positive, pro-choice, and sex positive.
My privileged identities include: Female assigned at birth (FAAB trans* privilege), white, able-bodied, allistic (?), dyadic, monogamous.
My non-privileged/oppressed identities include: Gender-fluid, fat, gray-a, neuroatypical, and gay.
I have: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Dermatophagia, and Dermatillomania.
I like: Pets & animals, animal welfare, pet care & pet care education, ~*SCIENCE!*~, anatomy & physiology, roleplaying, anime/manga, computer & video games, rock & metal music.
Last month, Slate‘s Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, presented a far from groundbreaking solution to the rape epidemic on college campuses: Tell women to stop drinking. In a piece originally titled “The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women to Stop Getting So Wasted,” Yoffe explained why women’s sobriety is apparently the key to ending campus rape culture. (After much backlash, the title was changed to the patronizing “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk.”) While there is value in properly addressing the role of alcohol in sexual violence, especially on college campuses, tired, victim-blaming arguments like Yoffe’s are infuriating at worst and annoying at best.
Myriad outlets published responses to Yoffe’s piece, including the New York Times. In its Room for Debate feature, the Times presented a variety of viewpoints on the subjects of college women, rape, and alcohol. While I was pleased the paper dedicated space to such an important issue, I was disappointed when I saw the contributors—all of the people who weighed in were only either white women or Black men. This was troubling for two reasons: (1) the (very incorrect) stereotype that most rapes in the United States are committed by Black men against white women immediately came to mind; and (2) once again, the voices of women of color were excluded from the debate.
My latest piece at RHRC! Talking about my usual: rape, race, and media representation.
Yep… That’s white privilege for you.
A faculty member at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Shannon Gibney, received a formal reprimand for her handling of a discussion about structural racism in her Introduction to Mass Communication course.
According to Gibney inan interview with City College News, a white male student asked her, “Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we have to talk about this?”
She claims she was shocked, because “[h]is whole demeanor was very defensive. He was taking it personally. I tried to explain, of course, in a reasonable manner — as reasonable as I could given the fact that I was being interrupted and put on the spot in the middle of class — that this is unfortunately the context of 21st century America.”
Gibney says another white male student followed the first, saying “Yeah, I don’t get this either. It’s like people are trying to say that white men are always the villains, the bad guys. Why do we have to say this?”
When Gibney attempted, again, to inform the students that they were mistaking a systemic critique for a personal attack, the students continued to argue. Eventually, she told them that “if you’re really upset, feel free to go down to legal affairs and file a racial harassment discrimination complaint.” This is exactly what they did.
Gibney is familiar with white male students taking discussions about structural racism as personal attacks, as it has happened before: ina 2009 incident, an editor of the school newspaper took offense at a similar discussion. In both that case and this one, Gibney received an official reprimand. After the latest accusation, the Vice President of Academic Affairs appended a letter to her file, in which he said he found it “it troubling that the manner in which you led a discussion on the very important topic of of structural racism alienated two students who may have been most in need of learning about this subject.”
“While I believe it was your intention to discuss structural racism generally,” he continued, “it was inappropriate for you to single out white male students in class. Your actions in [targeting] select students based on their race and gender caused them embarrassment and created a hostile learning environment.”
Gibney told lawyers at an investigatory meeting for an anti-discrimination lawsuit she and six other professors are filling against MCTC that the vice president’s words “have helped those three white male students succeed in undermining my authority as one of the few remaining black female professors here.”
There’s a lot of irony in this story. In the students’ subsequent freak out about feeling “singled out” about structural racism they went over her head and tried to get the professor fired…indicating structural racism.