Not even MLK can turn aside campus bullies
Amid widespread protests about racial injustice, which were tainted and overshadowed by vicious riots and looting in several cities, one might think that quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would offer perspective and wisdom.
Yet if you think that, you’d be wrong. It seems not even America’s foremost civil rights champion is woke enough for the woke brigades of today.
Just ask UCLA professor Gordon Klein, who has taught accounting at UCLA for 39 years.
The spring quarter’s final exams loomed during the protests over the killing of George Floyd, the black Minneapolis man who died in police custody on Memorial Day.
Against that backdrop, according to Inside Higher Ed, a group of his “non-black” students urged Klein to give black classmates a “no-harm” final “that could only benefit students’ grades, and for shortened exams and extended deadlines for final assignments and projects.”
The students lamented that they were positioned between supporting fellow black students or focusing on finishing up requirements for the quarter. “We believe that remaining neutral in times of injustice brings power to the oppressor and therefore staying silent is not an option,” they wrote.
The students claimed they didn’t necessarily want finals canceled for non-black students. They simply sought that Klein “exercise compassion and leniency with black students in our major.”
The professor thanked the students for their suggestion and then responded, “Do you know the names of the classmates that are black?”
“How can I identify them since we’ve been having online classes only?” he asked. Were there students who “may be of mixed parentage, such as half black-half Asian?” Klein continued. “What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half?”
Klein then noted that his teaching assistant was from Minneapolis and that any white students from that city “might be possibly even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they’re racist even if they are not.”
He closed by referencing Dr. King.
“Remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the ‘color of their skin.’ Do you think that your request would run afoul of MLK’s admonition?”
Fox News added that Klein in a separate reply also informed students that university policies say “rare exceptions” would allow him to grant such a request, but that he didn’t believe this met that threshold.
The response Klein received was a counterclaim from the students that he was “extremely insensitive, dismissive, and woefully racist” in replying, a suspension from the university, a petition signed by 20,000 people demanding that he be fired, and threats that have prompted heightened police protection around his home.
Based on this example from UCLA, like others elsewhere, it seems the main thing students on our college campuses learn is that bullying is the path to getting what you want — a far cry from the lesson imparted by Dr. King.
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