Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Choose your words carefully, and not just because the internet is forever

We are all guilty of some kind of casual bigoted comment (please do not confuse this with racism), but hopefully we are making the effort to change ourselves. However, it is amazing that in academia, this casual demeaning type of speech happens as often as it does.

“The Last Acceptable Prejudice?”

“A quick exchange on a university's faculty discussion board has led experts in Appalachian studies to consider again whether bias in academe (and society) is too accepted when it is about the people of the region they study.”

“On the faculty discussion board, a staff member posted a complaint about a student walking around barefoot in a building. A response is what set off the larger discussion:”

“One professor wrote: "My approach would be to assure this student that going barefoot is not against the rules because the assumption is that by the time they reach college, students are expected to understand why wearing shoes is expected on campus. If s/he disrespects his or her peers and the college community enough to (un)dress like a hillbilly here, I would say, then s/he should be prepared to be dismissed as one, in whatever pursuits s/he favors, in the preference of someone more attuned to proper decorum and respectful behavior."”

“A professor who was troubled by that response forwarded the comment to the Appalachian studies email list with the question: "Colleagues, if you read the following on your institutional discussion board in reference to a complaint about a barefoot student, how would you respond to the professor?" The responses came quickly. Many were furious that a faculty member would feel free to to talk about "hillbilly" behavior in this way.”

Every group deserves to be treated with respect, and educational institutions should be leading the way.

After all, we serve all students correct?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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