Professor Asks Only Black Student in Class How He Feels About Professors Asking Only Black Student in Class
ISE LAB—In an introductory education class last Tuesday, professor Michelle Graham asked Charles Miller, the only black student in the 40-person class how he felt about black students being singled out to answer questions about race.
“In less diverse communities and schools, sometimes there’s only one student of a particular minority group present, so then all questions about race are directed at them,” Miller said in front of her class. “This often causes these students to feel unfairly pressured, like they’re answering for their entire race.”
She then asked “What do you students think about this… Charles?”
Miller, a common expert among his white friends on whether or not they’re allowed to say the n-word, was visibly unfazed by this.
“The procedure is pretty standard,” he said. “First the professor asks the question. Then you have to wait until everyone slowly looks at you. It takes a while sometimes. Then, depending on how energetic you’re feeling, you respond accordingly.”
“If I’m really feeling it, I’ll go full Spike Lee on the class and tell them how isolating, unfair, and ultimately uninformative asking the one black kid is,” Miller explained. “But I don’t have that much energy or active racial anger all the time. Sometimes, I can just muster up, like, a D.L. Hughley. Hell, some days I’m Raven-Symoné.”
Miller says this is not the first time an incident like this has occurred.
“People always ask me the vaguest questions about the black community or about race in general, like I’m the representative of all black people for your education class,” he said. “What am I supposed to do? Call upon my African ancestors? Contact the Council of Elders? Email Jesse Jackson?”
“Diversity is important, because it means that all perspectives can be considered,” Graham said. “So it’s a good thing we have Charles to tell us about the black one.”
Miller then left class to go to his fraternity chapter meeting, where he was the sole determiner of whether or not something was racist.