When I signed up for a social problems class at the beginning of the semester I was excited. The catalog description said, “Survey and exploration of causes and consequences of major social problems in American society such as poverty, unemployment, energy, alcohol, other drugs and sexual abuse.” As someone who wants to minor in sociology and eventually go into social or humanitarian work, I felt this class would be perfect.
However, what I got instead is a semester long lecture on racism and how it still exists. Do I believe racism doesn’t exist? No, I’m not blind. Do I have anything against discussing racism? Not at all. But when I sign up for a class, I expect to learn what the class listing entails. Major social problems include unemployment, government corruption, human rights, equality, sexual abuse, immigration, global warming, the energy crisis, homelessness, and child abuse.While we did discuss maybe 3-4 of these, we did not discuss it on a global scale, or even a national scale. No.
Instead, we’ve discussed trivial topics such as racism combined with sexism in cookbooks. We’ve talked in depth about white supremacy. We’ve talked about teen pregnancy’s effect on black girls. We’ve talked about the sexual abuse of black men during slavery. Important subjects? Yes. Relevant to the class description? Yes, but these should not be what our learning is limited to. All of our lessons and assignments have been geared toward racism. Am I opposed to a class focusing on racial problems? No, not in any way, shape, or form. Usually those classes are titled “Ethnic and Racial Relations”, or something along those lines; I’m signed up for a class discussing racial problems in America in the fall. Now, however, I don’t feel that class will be necessary after all.
Professor, I did not pay to see you stand up on a soap box for 3 hours a week and preach on how awful white christians are, attacking students when they try to defend their religion. I did not sign up for this class expecting to hear you preach about how feminism, sexual abuse, and poverty all affect essentially only blacks. Your entire lectures have entailed “Don’t limit it to one race, you have to include everybody”, only to have you turn around and lecture entirely about the struggle of blacks in this nation. Inclusion means just that; including every American into your discussion. Why haven’t we discussed the struggles of Muslims in America, a topic that is extremely relevant currently? Why haven’t we discussed the horrific poverty of the people of Appalachia who are, yes, primarily white? Why haven’t we discussed the gross mistreatment of our veterans, the men and women who served our country who now live on the streets. The state of the education system in America is in sharp decline; this will affect us on a global scale in the coming years. If we’re going to look at history, why haven’t we discussed the gross mistreatment of Asian-Americans during World War II? Or the Germans and Irish when they arrived in America?
I expected to come to this class to learn how these issues are affecting us as a nation. I wanted to learn how I could help the American people as a whole. However this becomes impossible when you spend each class period focusing not on social problems but on essentially demonizing whites and Christians. You are creating a divisive environment. This doesn’t create an environment that fosters learning. This type of teaching divides students, something that a class focusing on social problems should most certainly not do. If we as millennials are to change the world, we need to come together, not be driven apart by differences such as religious beliefs and skin color. Isn’t that the whole point of a class focused on giving students the background they need to begin to go out and solve these problems plaguing society? College is not a place we go to learn definitions and regurgitate that information onto multiple choice tests. We go to college to build the foundation we need to go into our respective fields and succeed.
Professor, you openly blame christianity for creating racism. You openly attacked whites, essentially implying that all whites were racist. Some would say, “huh, that sounds like racism.” Well, that’s because it is. “That sounds like you’re condemning someone simply for their religion. Well, that’s because they are. Racism is not a thing that affects only blacks. Religious persecution is not a thing that is restricted to Muslims. Merriam-Webster defines racism as, “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.” It defines religious persecution as “the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof. The tendency of societies or groups within society to alienate or repress different subcultures is a recurrent theme in human history.” Are either of these restricted to one race or religion? No. It is time America-and the world-starts understanding this. If we allow ourselves to be divided by hatred—whether whites against blacks or Muslims against Christians—we will never end racism. We will never end religious persecution. You cannot effectively fight for your cause by turning around and attacking a different group of people. This creates an endless cycle of pain, anger, and hatred. If we continue to attempt bring social justice about in this manner, we will perpetuate this vicious cycle that has no hope of ending. In my church we are taught to reach out to and help a person, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or religious affiliation. That’s the mindset everyone needs to have.
When people adapt this mindset, beautiful things happen. In the refugee camps of the war-torn middle east, Muslims and Christians are working together the help these suffering people. On the battlefield, soldiers of different faiths have come together to fight against the radical terrorist group, ISIS. This cooperation is not limited to the middle east; in Nigeria these two religious groups have created a place to help those affected by the ongoing conflicts in the country to heal. This unity between Muslims, Christians, and Jews-groups that historically fought against each other in biblical times-is not confined to current events. These alliances reach back to Nazi Germany, a regime very similar to the Islamic State. If we put aside our differences-not create a divisive environment-to unite against a common evil, we can begin to put an end to the social injustices of this world.
Not all Blacks? Then not all whites. Not all men? Then not all women. Not all Muslims? Then not all Christians.