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Whose judgment makes a judgment call?

October 15, 2010

The President of Clark College in Vancouver, WA seems to have difficulty understanding the impact the distribution of racist fliers on campus could have on students, staff, and faculty.  Thirteen days after the “White and Proud!” handout appeared, featuring a swastika and National Socialist Movement contacts, President Bob Knight has agreed to have a campus dialogue even though he says it’s a judgment call: “I just don’t know how many students this really, really affected.” Racist handout, reaction roil some Clark College faculty

I’m disappointed at just how really, really, ignorant this white educational leader is about the impact of such fliers.

Is this worthy of getting the entire campus involved, or is it an incident that affects just one or two people?  At this time, I don’t even know that,” Knight said.

This is at a campus where nearly one-quarter of its 16,000 student population is identified by the school as “minority” students.

There’s impact on the campus community when this kind of behavior is met with silence.   Knight says not one student approached him. Given his response, I’m not surprised that students of color experiencing impact might not feel safe or likely to be understood in meeting with him.

Several students, disturbed at what happened, did approach other campus community members. Several faculty at the university spoke of their disappointment in the lack of a swift response from the President’s office.

I hope this incident proves to be a learning experience for the President about how white people can be so insulated and protected from the realities of racist actions that their judgment can become severely impaired.

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2 comments

  1. I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case.
    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it
    with ‘we leave it to you to decide’.


  2. Thanks for writing. Your comment went into my spam box so I only saw it today. Tell me more of what you mean. I’m interested. Diane



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