A professor at Lone Star College- Tomball in Texas is missing a few homework assignments after some students were unhappy they had to complete a worksheet that measured their “white privilege.”
Recent events like the Ferguson Case and that of Eric Garner, both of which involved the death of a black man at a white police officer’s hands, have many people discussing racism and what advantages or disadvantages people have as a result of their skin color.
That includes white privilege, the idea that people who are white or look like they are have advantages such as being far less likely to suffer from police brutality or racial profiling.
“I was shocked, I thought it was a joke [when I received the assignment],” a student told KPRC, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of academic retaliation. "There was a white privileges handout and a white privileges checklist and a white privileges quiz to see how privileged you are as a white person.” The student said it made him feel singled out, even though the class is online.
"I didn't feel comfortable sitting by myself at a computer with no one around me, I couldn't imagine if I was in a classroom setting and these questions were put in front me of," he said.
The worksheet, which had twenty questions, asked students to check a statement off if it applied to them. Prompts included “If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race” and “I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see my race represented.”
The professor was unable to be reached for comment, but the community college responded with a written statement that read, in part “The purpose of this lesson is encourage students to not only explore the rich dimensions of diversity that are contained within each person, but to also take time to reflect on the aspects of diversity that make up who they are as individuals. The assignment you inquired about was a supplement exercise with no point value assigned to it.”