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Pet Sins July 1999

Racism from the faculty - both blacks and whites can be victims

Racism is not just a black issue. Some of my white friends are victims too. This is my second semester at university. Overall, I like going to college, but I see how it would be advantageous affiliated with an organization. I really like being me, socializing with everyone and not really identifying with some arbitrary categorization -- such as race or skin color. But there is strength in numbers. Until recently, I was somewhat oblivious as to just how racist Sacramento County is. I knew there was a lot of subtle racism, but it truly permeates every level.

It is very annoying to be disrespected in class just because of one's ethnic background. Recently, I bonded with one of my white classmates because we were both subjected to racist comments from instructors. My friend is an Asian Studies major, and he is disrespected in class for just being white. The professors dismiss his comments, and they make he feel like an idiot. He is also made fun of him for being poor, but he is very smart. I can relate to him because I share many of the same experiences. I have been called a nigga and black devil in class. When I raise my hand to ask questions, I am often overlooked, but other students are not. I was even told by one professor that when he looks at me all he sees is, "a black man in a dark coat."

In one of our classes the professor does nothing but put us down. On the first day of class, he told a Japanese women not to worry about the "coloreds." This professor also spends entire sessions talking about how lousy we are as students, but he never says anything good about us. Before my friend and I took his class, our writing were good. But after being in his class for a few weeks, our skills plummeted. I have had people read recent papers that I have written, and they say things like, "you used to be a much better writer, what happened?" When I discussed this with my friend, who is also in the class, he told me that he has been experiencing the same problems. Professors are supposed to offer constructive criticism, not try to destroy students. No one wants to pay for their college student to go to a university where they will be harassed.

Some of the professors even demand that certain students do not wear hats on test days so they can be sure the student is not cheating. Yet other students can do so without being harassed. I do not cheat, but I have even had professors stand over me and watch me take my test. However, other students are not scrutinized in such a manner. This is very reminiscent of the Jim Crow era. These people act like what they teach is rocket science, and other people are incapable of learning. Nothing is being done to combat the issues of racism on college campuses. Most students are afraid that they will be targeted even more if they speak up. Recently, I contacted the dean of Students Affairs to talk about what I have been experiencing, and she basically told me if I make a complaint that I would "just look like a ranting student." Are we all going to have to deal with stuff like forever? This type of harassment does not only hurt the intended victims, but the entire community. No one wants to pay for their college student to go to a university where they will be harassed. If students are being disrespected, that will drastically decrease productivity, enrollment will fall, and colleges will loose revenue.