The recent commentary by Fred L. Pincus encapsulates the condescending and patronizing attitudes toward Black people exhibited by many white progressives (”Can a white man teach about racism? I did my best for 44 years,” June 11).
Let me cite just one example. He writes about one of his Black students who refused to turn in “an important assignment” because the student did not believe Professor Pincus had a right to teach race relations. Rather than give the student a failing grade for the assignment, Professor Pincus asked one of his Black colleagues to persuade the student to complete the assignment because he was concerned at “how would it look to fail an outspoken Black student in a race relations class.”
Let that soak in for a moment. Rather than hold the Black student to the same standard as every other student in his class, Professor Pincus lowered the bar for that student because he feared that it wouldn’t look good to treat that student the same way as his peers. How can we as a society expect adherence to established norms when people in authority, such as Professor Pincus, consistently undermine those norms in the name of anti-racism?
No self-respecting person, Black or white, deserves such disparate treatment. No wonder the Black student in Professor Pincus’ class did not think Professor Pincus was qualified to teach about racism.
Benjamin Rosenberg, Baltimore
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