Willful ignorance is not admirable

September 24, 2014

 

Guest Column

 

Valeria Pizarro

 

As the myth goes, academic spaces are supposed to be places of safety for students. Some educators will even go on to get offended if someone suggests otherwise.


We can establish that many teachers can be great, so why do so many of them end up being disappointments?


Context being: why can’t teachers stop pretending, or believing, that everyone in their classroom is what they perceive as “normal”?


Some EPCC human sexuality classes, for example, tend to be outdated. Political science classes are the birthplaces of many discussions involving social issues and more often than not, they fail to be inclusive of the people being discussed in the first place.


As students, we find ourselves in the middle of “academic” discussions were sometimes we’re put down.

 

We step back and realize what academia is supposed to be and what it’s doing to people doesn’t match.


There are laws against discrimination, obviously, but the issue is when teachers speak microaggressions one after another. The issue is when teachers allow other students to say offensive things because it’s somehow relevant to some topic.


This is conventional progressivism; we have some human sexuality classes being pro-sex, but they’re 98 percent about heterosexuality.

 

In political science we have straw man arguments flooding every discussion about queer issues because people feel justified throwing those around to fill in the empty spaces of their prejudices.


Why are teachers not learning acceptance and why aren’t they teaching it even when it’s relevant to the school material?


This isn’t about differing opinions like when someone loves a restaurant and they’re offended when someone speaks about it badly.


This is about actual people who deal with bigotry towards queer identities from the outside world only to come to school and experience it all over again.


Having to leave an academic space because of the lack of inclusivity is extremely common and widely ignored.


It’s tiring, disappointing and discouraging attending a class where your queer identity will be erased, insulted, mocked and trivialized.


In my experience at EPCC, professors definitely disregard that people have very diverse identities.


For us who aren’t defending intolerance with religion, or a philosophy that judges queer couples wanting to get married by comparing them to when a man wants to marry his dog, it makes school an unwelcoming place.

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