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Channeling College Education to Educate Youth on Social Issues

Feb 6,18

What is it about “white racism” that people are waking up to and talking about? Slowly, the issue is being taken cognizance of, especially in the geographies greatly impacted by it. Ideologies like “white racism” arise great concern and form an iota of the greater “racist ideologies”. Bringing along a cloud of darkness and creating darker memories, every moment.

In a significant change of stance, college campuses are removing the garb of political correctness. And, issues like these are being discussed openly. Recently, at Florida Gulf Coast University, an uproar ensued the introduction of a Sociology class that focused on aspects that interrogated the concept of race. However, the class titled “white racism” was in for a shocking reaction from different quarters. Not surprisingly, it resulted in a great uproar.

Prima facie it seemed an obvious case of irrelevant dramatization of issues on college campuses. Resulting in law agencies to come into the picture. However, the fact of the matter remains that college education must not back out from the “real issues” that our society is plagued with. Resistance from different sections of the society strengthens the necessity of the subject. So, why brush it under the carpet? If it is as apparent, we must make students face it as is. Followed by healthy debates and discussions around the difficult subject.

Ted Thornhill, who works in the capacity of an assistant professor of Sociology, at the Florida Gulf Coast University spoke about the violent uproar. He felt exasperated at the kind of negative reaction generated for the theme “white racism”. In clear words, he suggested that students felt attacked and offended over the course description. Some aspects of which included analysis of the “practices and policies going on over the years to maintain white racial domination, over the radicalized non-whites”.

When issues of this magnitude are being dealt with, there is no perfect solution. Each one of these brings about a background and history that has a context and content to trigger a valid discussion. However, it is a raw wound for some, an allegation for some, and hence requires a refined vocabulary and a peaceful approach. Thornhill categorically speaks of the current political climate that invites clear and powerful ways to title university courses. However, being and acting appropriately all the time.

Adding to the discussion about the course content, Thornhill spoke about the audience that comprised upperclassmen and second-year students. He shared a draft on their strategy for completion by way of having open discussions and performative skits. These modes and methods open more avenues to understand the aspects of biological race, going unto the socialized systems of racism. It is easier to build an understanding of these valid and volatile subjects that the society faces. That too under the safety and security of the university campus. Not only does this give a knowledge base, it also prepares the students to face such scenarios in the real world.

Support from the administration is also based on the misconceptions that impair logic. While a section of society wants to showcase white racism, as an ideological issue. When it is actually a deep-rooted structural phenomenon. Being aware of the history and background allows the young generation understand the concern around it, much better.

Thornhill emphasized the validity of sociology, a subject that deals with human society, its structural components, and functioning. Strengthen the subject with empirical data and encourage students with scholarships; to agree, disagree, and to validate their claims with evidence. He backed his thoughts by stressing on the era of “fake news”, which demands strong evidencing. When a scientific phenomenon like climate change is under scrutiny for proper evidencing, social sciences are at a greater risk.

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February 6, 2018

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