Top College News Subscribe to the Newsletter

Column:Ignorance is Bliss?

From the Right

Published: Friday, May 4, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 4, 2012 01:05


 

Amidst all the celebration centered on “social justice” at the University of New Hampshire, it seems to me as though something is being overlooked. But what, you might ask, could be more valuable on our campus than the success of this ideal? Some would be very comfortable in replying that there is nothing so important. But I would contend that the greatest measure of any academic institution’s success is intellectual seriousness, not to mention that institution’s ability to impart its registrants with valuable skills.

Yet this is an area in which I believe our university is struggling.  Though anyone could make this argument on the basis of something like the superficiality of our general education program, this is not my case to make. Instead, my argument is that the institutionalization of leftist interpretations of social justice has led to an era in which high caliber areas of study are being replaced with courses founded upon emotionalism, pop academia and the opinions of activist professors.

In late March, the Registrar’s Office released the UNH Fall 2012 Undergraduate/Graduate Online Time & Room Schedule. Among the courses offered this upcoming semester are: four sections of “Intro to Women’s Studies” (compared with three sections of the standard undergraduate Shakespeare course being offered by the English Department), two sections of “Gender, Power and Privilege,” a 444 course entitled Honors/Race Matters, another entitled “Score!: Gender and Division in Sports,” a colloquium on “Race and Gender in Film,” a course entitled “Intro to Race, Culture and Power,” a course entitled “Fashion This!,” and, my personal favorite, a course entitled “Sustainability & Spirit.”

There is nothing wrong with any of these courses being offered, per se. But it is interesting to note that each of the courses listed above meets a general education requirement. In fact, four areas of the general education program can be met with Women’s Studies courses: “Historical Perspectives,” “Humanities,” “Social Science,” and “Environment, Tech, and Society.” This too lacks the criteria of scandal. However, I want to make the observation that allowing such a small department to meet so many general education requirements seems to signify two things. First, that the university has wholeheartedly endorsed these courses and the content found therein.  Second, that there is a desperate need for student interest in these courses in order to keep the department afloat. One wonders at what point, in UNH’s bleak financial future, this or that Women’s Studies course will meet a “Physical Science” requirement.

All this leads me to the story of a smart and apolitical friend of mine who, in a hasty search to find an easy class to meet a general education requirement, decided to enroll in a Women’s Studies course. Citing this as the worst decision of her time at UNH, she reports to me that the objective of this course isn’t based in facts or the acquisition of a skill set. Unlike any college course she has ever taken, its basis lies in the ideology of the instructor.

Early on in the semester, students were encouraged to engage the instructor with opinions contrary to the views presented in the course material. However - when student took this liberty - they were reprimanded for their views in front of the class. Meanwhile, students who presented viewpoints that fit into the instructor’s own worldview were affirmed with praise.

The students  - now aware of this - have subsequently turned class discussion into a game of oppression musical chairs. Students now competed to tell the most exaggerated stories of facing discrimination at the hands of “the patriarchy.” It seems as though this course - which students pay thousands of dollars to take - is little more than an expensive group therapy session … for the instructor.

More interesting is the instructor’s frequent scorn of the monolithic categorization of minority groups. She does this while referring to Caucasians as “white folk” and claiming to speak on behalf of all 200 million white Americans for the sake of discussion, naturally.

It’s one thing to hear and read these accounts; after all, there are plenty of subpar instructors and disgruntled students out there. It’s quite another to see stories of overt political bias and opinion presented as fact manifest itself in an actual assessment. Looking over a recent exam my friend allowed me to see, it was blatantly obvious that success was based solely upon the student’s ability to regurgitate the opinions of the instructor.

One question read: 

 

Which is an example of racism?

a. A person of color gets a job over a white person

b. An Asian waiter refuses to serve a black customer

c. A white manager refuses to hire a woman because she is black

d. All of the above

 

My friend answered, “All of the above.” However, the correct answer was, “A white manager refuses to hire a woman because she is black.”

Recommended: Articles that may interest you

13 comments

Anonymous
Mon Jul 23 2012 09:05
I don't get it dude. Every time you write an article the commenters rip your argument apart, and yet you keep on vomiting this garbage out of your privileged face. "A bloo bloo why do women get to have womens' studies that shouldn't count as a real class a bloo bloo"
Anonymous
Sun Jun 24 2012 09:28
Definition of RACISM from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2: racial prejudice or discrimination
Note that not once does it mention having power as part of racism, racism is not about power, it's about prejudice.
Jimminy
Fri Jun 15 2012 01:03
"Racism refers to the power and privilege white people have over people of color.This is why a person of color cannot be racist."

That belief,beautifully elucidated by the above poster,pervades college campuses and is one of many reasons for the move toward funding vocational education.

Anonymous
Mon May 28 2012 01:26
The header asks if ignorance is bliss.In a word,no;ignorance is not bliss.

Ignorance is Strength.

Anonymous
Tue May 8 2012 22:43
Next time you want to write an article that puts down not just one class, not just one professor, but an entire department, I suggest you take a class or two within that department. Before you pass judgement, perhaps you should experience the course for yourself instead of taking ONE student's opinion and writing a derogatory column. You said that your friend was looking for an easy gen ed (which should never be a priority anyway), and from your article I am guessing that they were confronted with material that was harder to grasp than they had anticipated. What I would like to know is, did it ever cross your mind that they might not be a reliable source of information? Honestly, this makes me question your judgement as a contributor to the paper. I have generally enjoyed your other articles, but now I have to wonder if your other information was as unreliably acquired as the information you presented in this article. As another comment pointed out, you clearly show that ignorance is bliss. The Women's Studies department aims to educate students about many topics, including race, that our society rarely talks about and can be hard to fully understand. This is why students are strongly encouraged to take Women's Studies classes; many students are just as ignorant as you seem to be. My advice to you is to take a Women's Studies class before you graduate. You seem to need the experience more than anyone.
Anonymous
Tue May 8 2012 22:40
Next time you want to write an article that puts down not just one class, not just one professor, but an entire department, I suggest you take a class or two within that department. Before you pass judgement, perhaps you should experience the course for yourself instead of taking ONE student's opinion and writing a derogatory column. You said that your friend was looking for an easy gen ed (which should never be a priority anyway), and from your article I am guessing that they were confronted with material that was harder to grasp than they had anticipated. What I would like to know is, did it ever cross your mind that they might not be a reliable source of information? Honestly, this makes me question your judgement as a contributor to the paper. I have generally enjoyed your other articles, but now I have to wonder if your other information was as unreliably acquired as the information you presented in this article. As another comment pointed out, you clearly show that ignorance is bliss. The Women's Studies department aims to educate students about many topics, including race, that our society rarely talks about and can be hard to fully understand. This is why students are strongly encouraged to take Women's Studies classes; many students are just as ignorant as you seem to be. My advice to you is to take a Women's Studies class before you graduate. You seem to need the experience more than anyone.
Anonymous
Mon May 7 2012 09:28
The idea that racism is prejudice "plus power" is inherently wrong. I'm sure many will point out academic consensus on this, but lets be real, people. Racism is believing something false about someone or treating them differently solely on the basis of their race. Black people can be racist. Asians can be racist. Native Americans can be racist.

Lets lay off the "white people are racist" and "men hate women" BS. Women can be sexist and minorities can be racist. It is ALL wrong, and anyone who does not believe that racism and sexism ANYWHERE is wrong is a hypocrite and should be ashamed of themselves. Two wrongs don't make a right, folks. Racism by white people isn't canceled out by racism by black people. This isn't kindergarden, we're all adults and understand that things that are wrong are wrong, period.

Anonymous
Sun May 6 2012 06:01
a. A person of color gets a job over a white person

So if I'm reading this column correctly, your friend (and you) believe that any time a person of color gets a job while there is an unemployed white person around, that's an example of racism? Fascinating.

Anonymous
Sat May 5 2012 12:19
So, you think that the university endorses such beliefs because professors and departments are teaching certain subjects? I kinda thought that the university was a place where you could get exposed to various ideas, perspectives... That's what the tenure process, which protects individual professors and allows them to speak their mind, is all about. The university doesn't endorse anything except open education. Dude, your argument is seriously flawed and you really should study your assumptions before putting the pen to paper. I don't believe everything my professors tell me and my good professors allow me to say so. Seems to me you really don't want an education.
Anonymous
Sat May 5 2012 09:18
Turns out, in your "friends" quest to get an easy A that they put forth no effort and are now bitter at the women's studies department for their own short comings. The definition of racism is prejudice plus power. In this country white people have all the power, therefore a black person cannot be racist or an Asian waiter refusing service to a black customer is not a racist. Reference the link below or maybe take the class before you write a negative column on it.

http://stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/2009/09/wonder-how-to-define-racism.html

Anonymous
Sat May 5 2012 01:28
You complain about the professor being biased, and yet you write a column called "from the right." This politically-motivated hate screed is an embarrassment to journalism, even for an opinion column. This piece is a an obvious attack on Women's Studies, filled with typical myths and stereotypes about the field that are perpetuated by someone who has never stepped foot in a Women's Studies classroom and who harbors an obvious prejudice against the field. Your poll of one obviously disgruntled student proves nothing more than that she does not like the class and is not doing well in it or grasping basic social justice concepts. Also, are you aware that "UNH's bleak financial future" is the result of millions of dollars of the UNH budget being decimated by FAR RIGHT wing-nuts in the NH State Legislature? TNH should be ashamed of publishing this juvenile hit-piece that takes its cue from Faux News. You greatly tarnish your already marginal reputation by publishing a reactionary diatribe based in misinformation, inflammatory rhetoric, and personal attacks against UNH faculty members. Shame on the author and shame on TNH for giving this bigoted ideologue a platform to spew his bitter venom.
Concerned Student
Fri May 4 2012 20:15
You question Women's Studies courses meeting four areas of general education (Humanities; Social Science; Environment, Tech, and Society; and Historical Perspectives). You then ask when Women's Studies will offer a course in the Physical Science area. Obviously you have no understanding of the College of Liberal Arts, which covers all the first four areas. Physical Science falls under another College, namely the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. I suggest that you learn the differences before writing a column complaining about Women's Studies offering COLA requirements. But then as you clearly show, ignorance is bliss. I'm embarrassed that you attend UNH and haven't learned more than this.
Anonymous
Fri May 4 2012 13:44
I'm in this class and the test questions werent based on the professor's opinions but based on movies and textbook reading. Racism refers to the power and privilege white people have over people of color. This is why a person of color cannot be racist. It is all based upon wording that can be a little tricky. I will not lie the highest grade in the class was somewhere between a 16-17 out of 20 on that test. I think it is because people did not study well, because they did not know what to study. It was a lot of remembering exact quotes from the movies. I have a lot of respect for the professor and would take another one of her course even though I may not do so well in it.




log out