By: Krystle Crossman
A teacher at Norman North High School in Oklahoma caused quite a stir this week with a lecture that he gave on racism in the U.S. One of the students that was in his class took their cell phone out and recorded the lecture because they couldn’t believe what they were hearing. One student did an interview with a local news station and said that they were offended by what the professor had said and it felt like a blow to their race. So what was it that the teacher said? He was quoted saying, “…to be white is to be racist, period.”
The student that recorded the lecture said that while she is white half of her family is Hispanic. She felt that the lecture was offensive and disrespectful to her as a person. She wanted to know what gave him the right to call her a racist just because of the color of her skin and said that there was no proof of this but if someone is told that it’s a fact over and over they will come to believe it as the truth. Another student that was in the classroom was saying that the above quote was something that was taken out of context and was being made out to be something that it wasn’t.
Once the superintendent got wind of what was happened he put out a statement stating that the discussion was poorly handled but that it was actually stemming from another lecture that had been given at a university some time ago. The teacher was trying to get the students to talk about racism and how it affects them all. As soon as the school was given notice that the lecture had taken place they jumped into action to clear things up with students and parents. Some of the students took the speech to be offensive but there were just as many who found that it was a good discussion that needed to happen.
A student who was interviewed about their thoughts on the incident stated that everything that was being shown on the news was not accurate and made everyone who read the story think that the speech was something that it was not. He said that all of the students should be having an open discussion about racism and how to combat it. Another student stated that they wanted to start a civil liberties group within the school to further the discussion.