Students smarter than their teacher


Here’s a teacher having an old, tired, familiar argument with his students…and the students getting the better of him.

It’s not clear what happens between the first and second clip, but context clues suggest the teacher told the students that he used to be racist but had since stopped being racist, in his own opinion. In the next clip, another student says, “So are you trying to say you used to think that?”

“Yes, sometimes,” the teacher said.

The student who asked to go to the bathroom told the teacher, “You said ‘I am racist,’ that means right now,” suggesting that this was not something he had put behind him. The children continued to try to get him to say whether or not he is racist. “So you are a racist,” a student says.

“Damn, how many times do I gotta say it?” the teacher said, adding, “I’m frustrated with this conversation,” after the kids called him out for swearing.

“You guys don’t think that I’ve made peace with all this stuff? You think I’m still walking around prejudiced against people?” the teacher asks. One can assume they probably did.

In the final clip, the teacher explains, “Deep down in my heart, I’m ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one … I think everybody thinks that and they’re just not honest about it.”

The students explain to him that no, not everybody thinks that. The teacher says he believes that “on that level” everybody is racist. The students then tell him that they have lost respect for him, to which he responds to by telling them that they should have more respect for him now, because of how he is honest.

I’ve had that argument applied to me, too. The racist likes to claim that he’s not so bad, because everyone thinks their race/ethnicity is superior. But it’s not true! That’s just projection. I’ve never felt that being white makes me better than anyone else — I admit to sometimes feeling superior to individuals, but that’s just because I too often find myself in the company of creationists, never because of my complexion.

That final claim, that the racist is better because he’s honest about his racism, is just more bullshit.

The teacher is in Texas…no surprise there, although there are bad teachers everywhere. This one isn’t a teacher anymore, at least temporarily — he’s been placed on administrative leave.

Comments

  1. mamba says

    The racist teacher continues to be racist, but demands respect becasue he’s honest about it??

    Catch is, he wasn’t honest…he tried to deny it until called out, becasue it was obvious.

    Some teacher, he can’t even keep his warped logic straight for a few minutes in his own head.

  2. divineconspiracy667 says

    I recall using that exact same excuse back when I was a racist, conservative, evangelical christian. “Of course I’m racist, everybody is, at least a little.”
    It’s a method of conflating small, unconscious biases with nazi-adjacent racism.
    It’s bullshit, and his students were right to call him out on it.

  3. Artor says

    Yeah, no. I have zero illusions that my “race” is any better than others. People are people. But I grew up in Redneckistan, with very little exposure to non-whites, so I fear I might have racist tendencies. I have no fear or hatred of them, but they do often feel like The Others from my perspective. But I’m conscious of that, and try to avoid acting on it.

  4. says

    Yes, I think Artor is on the right track. It”s appropriate to say that most people, probably including myself, have unconscious biases. But we should try to bring them to awareness and overcome them. This guy said he knows he’s racist and that’s okay, he deserves credit for being honest. Not the same assertion at all.

  5. Louis says

    One of the foundational ideas of what I have repeatedly called the “conservative mindset” is that anyone who opposes their ideas is inauthentic. Only conservative ideas are authentic. It’s the underpinning of their beliefs about “political correctness”/”woke”, the clue is in the name “political correctness”. I.e. People are only not racist because it is somehow “correct” to be so as opposed to racism which is treated as being so trivially true as to be unquestionable.

    It’s one of the most frustrating things about engaging with these people, they’re acting in such bad faith they cannot imagine that other people are not like them.

    Louis

  6. dstatton says

    Think of all those white people who love Trump. Ever notice that white spremacists are the living refutation of the concept?

  7. raven says

    n the final clip, the teacher explains, “Deep down in my heart, I’m ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one … I think everybody thinks that and they’re just not honest about it.”

    No, everyone doesn’t think their race is the superior one.
    In fact, most people probably don’t believe that.

    How does this explain why most of the Hi Tech goods in our homes are made in Japan, China, and Vietnam?
    Why is that car in my driveway a Toyota anyway?
    Many of the cars on our highways are Japanese or Korean.

    My everyday experience since I was a kid says that whites aren’t superior to any other race.
    One of the few things I get out of being white is sun damaged skin.

  8. IX-103, the ■■■■ing idiot says

    I know that I personally have some unexamined biases that I presumably picked up somewhere growing up. For instance I recently realized that in the past I have unconsciously excluded black women from consideration when it comes to potential relationship partners. Now that I know that I have that bias I could work to overcome it (though it’s unlikely to come up since I’ve been married for over a decade).

    Does that make me racist? Maybe. Would I like a classroom full of students to record a conversation where they label me racist after I admit this fact? No. Would I deserve for something like that to happen? I hope not.

    To me this story is a big bite of nothing burger.

  9. raven says

    Ever notice that white spremacists are the living refutation of the concept?

    Yes, and I’ve pointed that out often.

    White supremacists are never supreme in any sense of the word.

    They never have any solid accomplishments to point to.
    They have long histories of domestic violence and other family problems.
    Low education levels.
    Erratic employment histories with long periods of unemployment.
    They often have long law enforcement records for a variety of crimes that are usually stupid and sometimes serious, up to and including murder and terrorism.

    They are just creepy, bottom of the barrel, warped humans.

  10. moarscienceplz says

    I don’t even know what “superior” means in this context, but I do think that anyone who claims to be a teacher should believe in their heart that every single one of their students is capable of exceeding the teacher’s own accomplishments.

  11. raven says

    To followup on #10.

    I just checked a few prominent white racists.
    They’ve never done accomplished much of anything.

    Take Nick Fuentes.
    He is a white racist who is questionably white anyway since his father was Mexican.
    Dropped out of college.
    Just says stupid stuff and lies a lot about everything.
    Kicked out of CPAC and off of Facebook and Youtube.
    This is like getting kicked out of the worst bar in the lowest part of Skid Row in a bad town.

    All he has done with his life is spend time trying real hard to be a creepy weirdo no one normal would ever want to get near.

  12. moonslicer says

    I’ve heard the “Racial Realism” argument before: “Different races don’t get along with each other and never have. It’s only stupid liberals who refuse to admit that fact.”

    Which argument is tantamount to asserting, “Everybody is a racist a$$hole. Therefore, it’s OK for me to be a racist a$$hole. Woo-hoo!”

    And why is it that different races often have trouble getting along with each other? Because racist a$$holes make sure that they do.

  13. says

    Um, no, he wasn’t really being all that honest. Admitting you have some prejudices is honest, at least insofar as you’re admitting a fact about yourself. But going on to assert that “everyone is racist” on some “level” is, at best, ridiculously vague and unverifiable, not an honest statement of a knowable fact.

    This guy is a racist git trying to excuse or justify himself, and failing both laughably and miserably. I predict he’ll go on to pretend he’s a victim of “cancel culture.”

  14. Allison says

    One issue with the “is person A racist?” question is that “being a racist” is much too vague. A person can have certain practices which clearly are racist or support racism, and others which do not. So you get arguments going past each other: “you do X, so you’re racist” vs. “I do Y, so I’m not.”

    The discussion gets less murky if you ask which aspects of a person are racist — or support racism.

    For instance, I don’t think it’s possible to grow up in the USA (or perhaps anywhere in the European sphere of influence) without absorbing racist attitudes and ideas, which then become part of one’s way of understanding the world. In that sense, we are all racist. (And not just white people — cf. internalized racism.) Combatting racism requires becoming aware of these attitudes and ideas, one by one, facing up to them, and replacing them with ideas that aren’t racist. Saying “I’m not a racist” is really a way of refusing to face up to them. (Just as “I don’t see racism” simply means pretending it doesn’t exist — “passing by on the other side,” if you’ll excuse a biblical allusion.)

    “Deep down in my heart, I’m ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one…”

    No, it doesn’t. It means looking at things from your culture’s point of view, according to its values, etc.

    That may — or may not — lead to you thinking that your culture/race/tribe is superior to all others. It sometimes results thinking another culture is superior to your own, typically because your ethnocentrism (plus superficial familiarity with the other culture) leads you to only notice the aspects of that culture which seem better or more virtuous than your own.

  15. raven says

    I’ve heard the “Racial Realism” argument before: “Different races don’t get along with each other and never have. It’s only stupid liberals who refuse to admit that fact.”

    You can easily make the opposite argument.

    Very few nations these days are just one single ethnic group or cultural group.
    That would include all of North America, South America, Oceania including Australia and New Zealand and a lot of Asia and Africa. It is increasingly true of European countries as well such as the UK, France, etc..

    And yet most of the time in most of these places, the various groups get along OK at the least.

    And, being a monoculture is no guarantee that a society won’t have any problems.
    Look at Korea. Almost a monoculture of Koreans.
    They should be fine right, one Asian ethnic group, one language etc..
    What we actually see is South Korea staring at North Korea, which is staring back.
    One of the Koreas developed nuclear weapons to scare the other Korea with.
    Yemen is another monoculture, been at war with itself since the 1970s.

  16. bcw bcw says

    Yeah, if you think your racial group is better then yes you are a racist and you approve of yourself being a racist.

    I think the one valid “everybody is a racist” argument is the gut fear of unknown people of other races, “crime” and all that.
    It’s not really valid since the fraction of people of any race who are an actual threat to you is tiny. It may be related to not understanding how to read people of other nationalities or ethic groups. Mostly, I just try to make sure I’m not making assumptions I shouldn’t and treating people unfairly.

  17. Cyborg says

    I hate all bigots.
    Everyone of them.
    Given a choice, I wouldn’t even let them use my bathroom.
    ;)

  18. Artor says

    I’m reminded of Michelle Duggar demanding that everyone cut them some slack, because every family has to shelter their serial molester kids, don’t they?

  19. says

    If we wanted to talk about white supremacy, we could start with the fascinating historical question “why are white people so violent?” and is there something wrong with them?

    [of course racism is bullshit and nobody with any understanding of population genetics would even bother to argue such a question – but a white supremacist who believes there is something special about white people would have to engage that point]

  20. Walter Solomon says

    Allison @15

    It sometimes results thinking another culture is superior to your own…

    That is what’s referred to as “cultural cringe.” I don’t believe that’s what this man is suffering from though.

  21. unclefrogy says

    @6
    that is the most frustrating thing about conservatives absolutely.
    the racist thinking that trips them up , what tripped the teacher up in this case was the thought “his race” was superior to all others. so he was justified in being a little racist or considering himself like many like him to not be racist at all because he is superior after all. He can not even define in reality who is what race nor what are the characteristics that make them a member of what race Population genetics cultural practices political history world history in general and migration and “interbreeding” are never even considered as they are all part of the “liberal agenda” unless they support the fantasy story they have of people.
    both the principles and ideals on which the US was founded as expressed in the documents not always the behavior and for me the teaching of the christ as I learned them in catholic school make it so disturbing I find it hard to be calm and rational.

  22. unclefrogy says

    the contrast between the ideals of equality and freedom expressed by the cultural leaders and teachers and the religious leaders (all souls are equal) and the behavior and real attitudes of people help me be able to start to seriously question things like belief and what is real.
    I guess I should be thankful because I would not trade where I am now for anything nor could I

  23. brightmoon says

    When my kids were little I didn’t allow them to say that [insert race here] Person was an asshole. However, they could say that Person was an %#^£ asshole . I’m racially mixed with a multicultural family and no matter which so-called race or religion you insulted, someone in the family was either that race or that religion. And I live in NYC too!
    You better believe I hated Dolt45!

  24. raven says

    While some US people are racist, many are not all that racist as shown by their behavior.

    .1. In the period from 2012 to 2016, about 10 percent of married-couple households were interracial or interethnic, up from 7 percent in 2000.4
    .2. Among newly married couples, about one in six included spouses who identified with different racial or ethnic groups in 2015.
    Around 15% of new marriages are mixed race/ethnic group couples.

    This means that 15% of so of new born children in the USA are mixed race.
    I can’t see that these mixed race couples with mixed race children are going to claim that their partner is from an inferior group.
    At least not openly at the dinner table.

    Children Are at the Forefront of U.S. Racial and Ethnic Change
    February 10, 2020 prb.org

    The multiracial population in the United States—those who identify with two or more races—is also increasing with the rise in interracial couples. The children of these interracial unions are forming a new generation that is much more likely to identify with multiple racial groups. In the period from 2012 to 2016, about 10 percent of married-couple households were interracial or interethnic, up from 7 percent in 2000.4 Among newly married couples, about one in six included spouses who identified with different racial or ethnic groups in 2015.5

    With the rise in multiracial and multiethnic couples and children, a growing number of Americans are finding it difficult to select a single racial or ethnic group on the census form. We can only speculate what the census will look like in the future, but the racial/ethnic categories will likely be very different than those on the 2020 Census questionnaire.

  25. F.O. says

    Both “race” and “superiority” are arbitrary, inconsistent, self-serving ideas.

    If you feel a compelling need to think that whatever group you decided you belong to is “superior”, it’s because your self-acceptance cannot stand on its own feet.

  26. jacksprocket says

    ““Of course I’m racist, everybody is, at least a little.””…
    Thet’s the problrm. Being “not a racist” isn’t a state, it’s a battle . Against youself, mostly, but also against other people you like,..

    Don’t be complacent.

  27. says

    I have internal biases that I’m either aware of and ok with, or I struggle against. I work hard to be sure that my internal biases do not distort my sense of empathy or ability to care for my fellow human being. I also have an internal bias for Buffalo sports teams. I want them to win. I have a sense of home and pride and I’m eager to share that with other people who have that same sense of pride and community.

    I want to be exposed to new ideas and perspectives, but I also know that the current culmination of mankind’s best and brightest has led us to a precipice. Our rights, our planet, our history and accomplishments can all be wiped out before we’ve even had a chance to survive, and explore the universe. Long after we, and by that I mean humans, long after “we” are gone, the universe will live on and something greater will come along. Some intellect will do a better job of understanding than we ever did.

    So racists can go get fucked. And this guy, I think he’s doing what he thinks is right, but not only is he drowning in his own biases, he’s trying to inflict them on others.

  28. says

    “Deep down in my heart, I’m ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one…”

    Misuse of the word “ethnocentric” aside, I have to ask whether this guy ever offered any evidence or solid reasoning to back up his opinion? If not, did he admit his opinion was unfounded? If not, then he’s not really being all that honest.

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