University of Pennsylvania student James Fisher took to the Ivy League school’s student newspaper to complain that a professor’s refusal to acknowledge white privilege was a traumatic experience for him.
Fisher claims that fall 2016 semester was his worst semester at the University of Pennsylvania — because a white professor refused to acknowledge his privilege.
Last semester was honestly the worst semester I’ve had at Penn so far. And all because of one thing: the white professors I’ve had at Penn. It appears that the term “privilege” does not apply to them. Nor do they care to learn what it is.
After one of his professor’s refused to acknowledge his privilege, Fisher claims that he was unable to attend that class for a month, saying he “did not want to step foot into another white space until I made sure that my mental health was restored.”
Fisher detailed his experience in the classroom, claiming that the professor, a “white man from the suburbs,” cultivated a classroom environment that caused him trauma.
Unfortunately, he proved my suspicions to be true. There were countless times that his lack of acknowledgment of his privilege led to some of the trauma that I experienced in class. He would show images of slaves on plantations and even allow students to say ignorant comments in class.
Fisher claims that he confronted the professor after class, telling him that lack of awareness of personal privilege had caused him racial trauma.
I remember having an intense conversation after class. I basically told him that what he was doing was traumatic to me, and as someone who has experienced a lot of racial trauma in his life, I would not allow him to continue. He then used the argument that, in order to make the class a “safe space,” he had to protect the voices of all students in the class.