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Marxist Ethnic Studies Professor

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Greetings to all!

I have been a member of this forum for a few months and until today; I deliberately did not participate in the discussions because I didn’t feel like I knew very much about objectivism. The primary reason that I joined this forum is so that I could learn more about the philosophy from those that understand it much better than I. I am happy to say that I have not been disappointed! After reading AS, The Return of the Primitive, and many of the posts on this website, I now realize that I am an objectivist. In fact, I have been one all along but I didn’t have the ability to put my seemingly unrelated thoughts and opinions into one coherent philosophy. This has been a particularly long journey for me because I am a 26 year-old African-American that was raised in a household that was both collectivist and horribly anti-American. I was raised to look to the government to solve my problems and I was told that the poor “deserved” government assistance because they had been “dealt an unfair hand” in life. Yet, as I looked at the community around me, I noticed that the people who received government handouts rarely were able to better their circumstances in life. I was young, but even then I realized what a gigantic waste of money our welfare system had become. This was the initial thought that caused me to explore human nature further. It has put me on a journey through many philosophies about human nature and objectivism is the only one that has accurately described the world as it actually is. This is where I am today. Now, I would like to discuss with you the current problem that I am facing.

I am a college student in California’s CSU system and I am only two quarters away from graduation. One of the requirements for graduation is that students take a course in American History and Institutions. Since I also work and attend Arabic classes on the weekend, I don’t have much wiggle room in my schedule. I decided to take an online course offered by the university entitled: Ethnicity in American History. Although I am always wary of ethnic studies courses, this one met the requirement and it worked with my schedule so I decided to take it. From the lectures I knew that the professor was not only a Marxist, but he was also blatantly racist towards whites. His lectures are filled with anti-capitalist rants and he seemingly blames Caucasians for all of the world’s ills. In our first assignment, I decided to write an essay that challenged the leftist dogma that primitive equals good and advanced equals bad. This seems self-evident, but unfortunately it is not to some. I made sure that the essay was perfectly formatted and met all of the posted requirements so that I couldn’t be given a low grade out of spite. Yet that is exactly what happened. I received an “F” on the essay and I am now in danger of failing the class and ruining my 3.9 GPA. It is too late to drop the course and withdrawing requires me to meet with the Chair of the Ethnic Studies department. Although I am prepared to do that, I am curious to know what your opinions are of what I should do? If I remain in the class, I run the risk of getting an undeserved F. If I play along and write the kind of things that he is expecting me to write, I could pass the course but then I would be attaching my name to ideas that I find abhorrent. I have already emailed the Chair and I am awaiting a response, but I don’t think that the Chair of an Ethnic Studies program would be very sympathetic to my problem. I am prepared to take this as far as it needs to go but I would prefer to avoid a long fight because I have 7 other classes that all need my attention. What do you guys think?

P.S: Just for kicks, here are a few direct quotes from his lectures posted online.

"The United States is an oppressor nation, a characteristic that it shares with other imperialist powers."

"Yet history reveals that the white masses, making up the majority of an oppressor society, have throughout their entire history attempted to advance themselves primarily by further oppressing peoples of color - not by any class struggle."

"Yet in the age of capitalism, the US economy could not do without the labor of such a class, so the US imported a proletariat from Africa."

"Euro-American settlers have always made light of their invasion and occupation, even though this conquered territory is the precondition of our entire society."

M. Ferdinand

माक्र्स फ़र्दिनान्द

ماركوس فرديناند

מרקוס פרדיננד

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Well, you're the one who went to that school and took that class. You should learn the course, and prove that you learned it by writing the papers the guy expects you to write. You're not sanctioning his ideas by doing so, you already made it clear to everyone that you don't agree with him. There's literally no reason to ruin your GPA.

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I guess you could talk to your professor to understand what he wants. Perhaps his requirement is that you demonstrate that you comprehend the ideology he is spewing, not that you offer your own critique of the ideology. No sanction of his ideas is implied by demonstrating your comprehension of them in a course-assignment.

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I guess that I should have stated that the essay assignment called for us to evaluate how the cultural differences between Native Americans and Europeans settlers created conflict between them. With this as a prompt, I used the required texts to craft an argument that Native Americans were conquered because they relied heavily on mysticism and primitive technologies in their struggle with the European settlers. I think the professor wanted me to come to the conclusion that the European settlers were hell-bent on genocide and their evil "capitalist mindset" is what pushed them into the New World.

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The first point that you should understand is that it is never acceptable (especially in a government university) to grade a student based on their agreement with a particular idea. For any class, there is an approved syllabus which states the requirements of the class and the grading standards. I can guarantee you that even in California, no official syllabus has been approved whereby a student's grade is determined based on whether the student spouts a particular Marxist line.

Obviously I cannot judge whether your essay objectively deserved an F since I haven't seen it, so I have to simply assume that you make a credible case for your thesis (one that I sort of agree with, except I would argue that the relationship between mysticism and reliance on primitive technologies is not "A and B", but "A caused B"). It is my considered professional estimate that, assuming you are revealing all of the salient details, that the instructor simply crossed the line. The chair has the power (and obligation) to intervene. Based on something so simple as your ability to compose coherent sentences, much less paragraphs, I cannot believe that the chair wouldn't act favorably on your behalf.

However, since in fact you may have stirred the proverbial hornet's nest, I also advise you to consider higher levels of appeal (the Dean), as a nearly-last resort. FYI, there is a rule about levels of university administration. The instructor has significant latitude, but can be overruled by the department chair since there is a strong presumption that the chair is competent to judge on matters of substance within that discipline. A dean, on the other hand, is not granted the presumption of expertise in the subject matter, so a dean is unlikely to overturn a department chair's professional judgment, except in an exceptional case. Well, an exceptional case might be the fact that the chair is a known idiot, or the department is infamous for evil deeds. So it's not hopeless if the chair turns you down, but it is riskier.

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There are plenty of examples on this forum of people complaining about their professors giving them F's, when in reality the student simply chose to rebel against academia rather than discuss the topic on which they were to be graded. So you may want to step back and decide if you really did attempt to answer the question that was asked, in a coherent way. If the question was, "why does the white devil keep us down", then obviously that's a different matter.

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Testing my stalker abilities, I've come up with a name for this prof - Jaideep Singh. Am I right? I found some previous content of his:

Presumed Guilty: Race, Religion, and the Post-9/11 Racialized State

My Journey to Sikh Studies

Quote regarding his efforts:

I have endeavored to provide a progressive Sikh American voice and perspective in the maelstrom of a U.S. multiculturalism that tolerates only incremental, halting challenges to the white and Christian supremacy which still condition and delimit the lives of those who belong to neither of those two societally salient categories. When one examines the realms of true influence in this nation, where power is manifest and culture and ideas defined for the masses, one sees just how pervasive white and Christian hegemony remain: in the editorial boards of newspapers and magazines, among tenured faculty in academia, in Congress and the Presidency, and in the managerial boards of Fortune 500 corporations. True diversity, expressed not only in skin color but intellectual multiplicity, remains elusive to find in a nation that is still nearly 75% white. My work is a reaction against that ongoing legacy of domination, suppression, and exploitation. In many ways, my work is just a Sikh American man’s perspective of the world, the view from beneath the pagri (turban)— albeit one with a decided empathy for the powerless and despised in society due to my own experiences as such.
Edited by brian0918
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Given that your professor seems close minded, you might have to go along so that you can maintain a solid gpa. It's not your responsibility to change the professor's mind and there is virtually no chance you will be able to, although I understand the temptation. When you are out of university you'll be in a better position to fight these guys, because then they won't have control over your career.

I would put in a reasonable fight for a better letter grade on that paper, however, because it looks to me like a real injustice.

Edited by Thales
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Testing my stalker abilities, I've come up with a name for this prof - Jaideep Singh. Am I right? I found some previous content of his:

Presumed Guilty: Race, Religion, and the Post-9/11 Racialized State

My Journey to Sikh Studies

Quote regarding his efforts:

I'm impressed, that is exactly who it is. I didn't want to mention his name, but I'm glad you did :)

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If your paper is near immaculately perfect, then you have a real beef. As long as there is no "legitimate" reason for giving your paper a F, not answering the question, or not following directions, and this is simply a

If this "professor" has tenure, I would say don't bother with fighting the system, there is next to nothing you can do. Drop the class if your pride proves unswallowable, or give the guy what he wants, that shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

But if he doesn't have tenure, please make as big a stink about this as possible. With your credentials, African-American and a high GPA, there is no "narrative" you could conveniently fit into, for its next to impossible to call you a racist. Revolutions start when the first person says "No."

I understand that you may not have the time or energy to deal with this bull, but this could be a golden opportunity to strike a blow for the good guys.

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Hey, I know exactly how you feel. Except in my case, every teacher is an altruist-collectivist-socialist. Needless to say, I will be attending an applied science course at college next year and as of right now, I'm absolutely loving my assignments.

There is some sort of terrible irony that only when you expect to fail are you free to produce high quality academic papers.

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Here is what you can do to make it difficult for this professor. Go to your school newspaper and find someone interested in this topic. I think it would make an interesting story for a black to defend whites against racism fomented an Indian professor. It might even be a national-type story that would give a boost to your career, especially, if you end up writing books. Quite a number of writers used college controversies to launch their careers including William F. Buckley, Danish D'Snusa, and Peter Thiel. You should milk this for whatever it can get you. This is your Joe-the-Plumber moment.

The point is that bringing your situation to light via a newspaper article will show courage on your part and show your professor that you are not an ant to be stepped on. So, he will have to think twice to be sure you really are a failure, as he thinks you are.

Remember that the smallest minority in the world is the man with his own opinion. As to those who think it's your tough luck for taking this professor, really, everyone deserves a fair playing field and the university should ensure that. So anything that brings to light the lack of "procedural justice" in this guy's class actually does the university and his fellow students a good deed. That angle will only doom his reputation in the eyes of other students, and the university in general if it fails to provide such justice.

If that doesn't work, I would just be more and more participatory in class with the right ideas to challenge his propaganda. Get him to explain himself more and more. Let him dig his own hole until he his foundation is exposed as being mystical.

If you are doomed to get an F you are actually free to speak your mind. You should feel relieved. Besides, you aren't loosing a 4.0. That would suck.

Best of luck.

Lorenz

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