Terra-Cotta

September 2019

Alfred University student met with a racist professor at Terra-Cotta, in the hopes of reconciling their differences as well as share how harmful the professor’s statements are.

Common Ground, one of the stupidest classes any incoming Alfred student has to take. Created in response to a racist video circulating campus last year, common ground is supposed to educate and facilitate discussion about the hot topic of the day. In theory, the class sounds like a great idea but in practice, it either lacks the meaningful discussion that its meant to have, or taught by unqualified professionals. This particular Alfred university student was in a class taught by the latter of professors. On the first day of class, the professor told there, students, the reason why the country is so divided is because of the decline in the man cave. “We need to go back to a time where men had their man cave and women sat around did cross-stitch,” said the professor. In addition, they asked questions like “do black people wash there hair and if so how?” or “why is huck Finn racist?”. These questions were not only shared with the class but also posed to minority students. This created an uncomfortable power structure in the classroom where this teacher could ask whatever they wanted and minority students had to just sit and listen to them spew their nonsense. One day after class they stopped one of the minority students and said “you look so upset, it’s like you wanted to punch me or something. We should talk?”. Not only did this student not do anything but sit in the classroom but also they didn’t really have a choice with meeting with the professor or not. 

The professor and student met the student bringing a white friend to accompany them. In the end, what was gleaned from the discussion was that the teacher didn’t believe that the statements that they made in any way were harmful or racist, and they felt that the student was “misinterpreting them”. In the end, the student had to switch Common Ground classes due to the continuous onslaught of racist statements by the professor.

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