Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: The Tale of A Progressive Professor Who Forgot To Hide Her…
Kayla Renee Parker
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Well done, Ms Parker! I am a teacher and I’ve got to say I was a bit wary going in to this article, thinking maybe you were just trying to show up your professor. But I looked at ALL of what you posted: the email exchange, the video of your presentation, the screenshots of her vitriol against you. You showed remarkable restraint in the face of a lot of condescension, you did your homework, and you presented your case with aplomb. She appears to have been offended from the get-go that you’d have the audacity to question her, a teacher, when you were a mere student. She took offense very quickly, too. She must have a lot invested in her identity as a “white ally,” and is completely freaked out at having that questioned.

I actually love it when my students contradict me. I like when it’s done with kindness, of course, but the reality is: sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes my information is dated. Sometimes I’m teaching an approach I’ve taught for years, and it’s gotten stale, even for me. Students who question me give me the opportunity to learn something new or to rethink what I believe. Often they have expertise in some area I do not. And frankly, if education is not ABOUT questioning the status quo, what is it about?

Those of us who are white benefit from a racist system. Coming to terms with our individual racism is often hard, especially since we have so many blind spots. But there is a kind of peace in accepting that about myself. I can let go of defending myself as a non-racist. I am an anti-racist, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a racist. (If that makes any sense.) What that means is that I need voices like yours to help me see what I cannot see on my own. I have never lived behind your eyes. Only you can tell the story of what you see.

I hope your writing career continues to grow and flourish. You use words well and you are a woman of courage.