A segment on Friday’s “Fox and Friends” chastised Arizona State University for offering a course this spring that examines the “problem of whiteness.”
Co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck spoke with Lauren Clark, an ASU student who was disturbed by a course in the school’s English department titled “Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness.” Clark is also a writer for Campus Reform, a student news website backed by the Leadership Institute, which organizes conservative groups on campus.
Clark took issue with the class book list, which included titles like “Everyday Language of White Racism” and “Possessive Investment in Whiteness.” A syllabus for the class was not available online.
“All of these books have a disturbing trend and that’s pointing to all white people as the root cause of social injustices for this country,” Clark said.
Hasselback then asked Clark whether ASU would dare offer a course called “The Problem With Blackness” or “The Problem With Being Female.”
“I don’t think that would fly at the university,” Clark responded. “Quite frankly, as an ASU student myself, I’m disappointed that my school would offer a course like this. Clearly we have a lot of work to go as a society in terms of racial tension, but having a class that suggests an entire race is the problem is inappropriate, wrong, and quite frankly, counter productive.”
Hasselback added that she thought the course seemed “quite unfair and wrong and pointed.”
When contacted by TPM on Friday, Lee Bebout, the white professor teaching the class, referred questions to the university’s press office.
The university issued the following statement on the course to TPM:
This course uses literature and rhetoric to look at how stories shape people’s understandings and experiences of race. It encourages students to examine how people talk about – or avoid talking about – race in the contemporary United States. This is an interdisciplinary course, so students will draw on history, literature, speeches and cultural changes – from scholarly texts to humor. The class is designed to empower students to confront the difficult and often thorny issues that surround us today and reach thoughtful conclusions rather than display gut reactions. A university is an academic environment where we discuss and debate a wide array of viewpoints.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.