Dear professor of POLI 490:

I am shaking with anger and frustration right now. I cannot believe what just happened. Five minutes ago, I walked out of class because my professor blatantly disregarded my friend’s opinion.

Insaaf spoke brilliantly and eloquently about how white people need to show up because people of color and other oppressed groups in the US are tired of not only meeting them halfway, but getting down on their knees and practically begging for acknowledgement, awareness, and basic human dignity. She said it perfectly and in response, my professor immediately turned to the student who had spoken before, a white male, and asked something along the line of, “so what were you saying?”

The professor disregarded what her student had to say. She ignored her. There was no acknowledgement whatsoever. I didn’t expect her to agree, but I did expect some kind of response to show that she was listening.

It took Insaaf courage to speak up like that. She was not obliged to speak up. But she did and I am so proud of what she said. I wish I backed her up. I wish I called the professor out. But I didn’t.

And I will own up to that. I had the capacity to (as Insaaf puts it) be a disruption, but all I did was gather up my belongings and leave the space. I escaped.

I’m sorry.

Insaaf, I hope I can become braver like you. And professor-whose-name-I-will-leave-out, I hope I never become like you.

Sincerely,

The disgruntled student in the bright fluorescent jacket

 

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