From Illinois Public Media:
The chancellor of the University of Illinois Urbana campus Thursday expressed regret about the way she came to a decision to withdraw a job offer to a professor who posted inflammatory comments on Twitter – a decision she said was “pretty unilateral.”
Chancellor Phyllis Wise said members of the Board of Trustees told her in July that they likely would not approve the appointment of Professor Steven Salaita. A week later, Wise sent a letter to Salaita rescinding the job offer.
“The judgment I made in writing him was to convey the sentiment of the Board of Trustees, it was not mine.” She said. “And I did it because I thought I was doing something humane for him.”
Humane, she said, because she didn’t want Salaita to move his family to Urbana only to learn his appointment was not approved.
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The phrase “white privilege” is one that rubs a lot of white people the wrong way. It can trigger something in them that shuts down conversation or at least makes them very defensive. (Especially those who grew up relatively less privileged than other folks around them). And I’ve seen more than once where this happens and the next move in the conversation is for the person who brought up white privilege to say, “The reason you’re getting defensive is because you’re feeling the discomfort of having your privilege exposed.”
I’m sure that’s true sometimes. And I’m sure there are a lot of people, white and otherwise, who can attest to a kind of a-ha moment or paradigm shift where they “got” what privilege means and they did realize they had been getting defensive because they were uncomfortable at having their privilege exposed. But I would guess that more often than…
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Usual disclaimer: this may meander.
I was born short and never really grew out of it. I also spent all my years as an only child in a relatively stable, quiet little household. We didn’t always have a television so it wasn’t unusual for my family to be sprawled out in the living room, each of us silently reading — together but alone. I liked it.
But imagine my shock when it came time to go to a place called School.
My mom and dad walked me to some pre-k place in Queens or maybe Manhattan. I just remember crossing all the busy street corners holding both of their hands.
When we got to this place, my father bent down to my height and issued one of his infamous commandments: “Remember, your name is…
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