In an era of inclusion, some must be excluded.
Case in point: the State University of New York (SUNY) Binghamton, where a professor recently made clear her modern take on letting students speak.
In times past, some university attendees loathed being called on by the teacher. Avoiding being picked was a win.
These days, in order to talk at all, you'll need to wait in line — if your skin isn't sufficiently shaded. Or if you, like an apple, possess a stem.
Such was the situation in Ana Maria Candela's sociology class.
Ana favors an approach to discussion called “progressive stacking.”
Per her syllabus, as reported by the New York Post:
If you are white, male, or someone privileged by the racial and gender structures of our society to have your voice easily voiced and heard, we will often ask you to hold off on your questions or comments to give others priority and will come back to you a bit later or at another time.
What's the point? That'd be to “give priority to non-white folks, to women, and to shy and quiet people who rarely raise their hands.”
Such a description sounds as if white males are inherently loud and obnoxious, but perhaps that's reading too much in.
Either way, Ana claims her method boasts “tremendous benefits for our society.” Over the course of being othered, Caucasian males learn to give their turn to anyone unlike them:
Those who feel most privileged to speak begin to take the initiative to hold space for others who feel less comfortable speaking first, while those who tend to be more silenced in our society grow more comfortable speaking.
In the popularity department, bleached bros aren't exactly killin' it these days.
Might Ana's policy be viewed as a bit of piling on?
Economics major Sean Harrigan certainly isn't a fan.
“How am I supposed to get a full participation grade if I'm not called on because of the way I was born?” he posed to the Post.
Sean filed a Title IX discrimination complaint with SUNY.
The school released a statement in response:
Faculty Staff Handbook outlines principles of effective teaching, which include valuing and encouraging student feedback, encouraging appropriate faculty-student interaction, and respecting the diverse talents and learning styles of students.
The faculty member has updated their syllabus, removing the section in question, and is now in compliance with the Faculty Staff Handbook.
Still, according to Sean, there's more where that syllabus situation came from:
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The sociology department scares me.”
Does she realize that capitalism is a free-market system which allows citizens to own their own businesses?
I'd say it isn't out of the question that the answer is no. After all, she's not a government teacher.
Plus, there are other professors who can focus on the virtues of the nation:
Harrigan said a professor in another class on “nonviolent compassionate communication” — also being offered through Binghamton's rhetoric department — strongly encouraged him against choosing America as an example of a compassionate nation.
Back to progressive stacking, at least one white voice hasn't at any point been muzzled. In fact, it's bested all others for air time.
Ana — incidentally — is white.
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