“Sexist By Virtue Of Being A Male”: Emory Professor Under Fire For Views On Race and Gender Bias

Emory Philosophy Professor George Yancy has attracted considerable attention this week over his writings and comments on race and his suggestions for teaching white students. Yancy is under fire for telling his students that he believes not only in “safe spaces” for non-white students but “dangerous spaces” for white students. It is part of his view of “white privilege” and his effort to prompt students “to acknowledge their inherent racism and fight actively against it.”  Yancy insists that all white people are inherently racist and all men are inherently sexist.

Yancy has railed against the “norm” of “whiteness” in our society.  As a result, he insists that most white students “have never had to think of themselves as different or problematic.”

The Emory Wheel reported that Yancy maintains that “although he does not intentionally try to oppress or objectify women, he is a sexist by virtue of being a male.” Thus, he argued that “at the end of the day the best that I can be is an anti-sexist sexist. I fight against sexism everyday of my life, to the best that I can.”  He then extends that analysis to his white students and argues “[t]he best that [a white person] can become is an anti-racist racist.”

Yancy notably does little to really explain why all men are inherently sexist any more than explaining why women are not.  Indeed, Yancy states in  a 2013 op-ed  that

“There are others who will say, “Why isn’t Yancy telling black people to be honest about the violence in their own black neighborhoods?” Or, “How can Yancy say that all white people are racists?” If you are saying these things, then you’ve already failed to listen. I come with a gift. You’re already rejecting the gift that I have to offer. This letter is about you. Don’t change the conversation.”

This is not an argument but simply an accusation. The very response is simply dismissed as proof of the point of sexism.  It is both convenient and transparent.  The “gift” most academics prefer is a reasoned argument, not a series of affirmative statements followed by a rejection of any counter argument as proof of sexism and denial.

The notion of all men as inherently sexist and all whites as inherently racist is deeply troubling for a teacher who is incorporating such views into his classes.  That concern is then magnified by the pedagogical effort to create “dangerous spaces” for whites. The treatment of white students differently would not be tolerated in this way for other students.

In his oped, Yancy rejects virtually any beliefs or practices that would show that a white person is not a racist.

Don’t tell me about how many black friends you have. Don’t tell me that you are married to someone of color. Don’t tell me that you voted for Obama. Don’t tell me that I’mthe racist. Don’t tell me that you don’t see color. Don’t tell me that I’m blaming whites for everything. To do so is to hide yet again. You may have never used the N-word in your life, you may hate the K.K.K., but that does not mean that you don’t harbor racism and benefit from racism.

Yancy’s view cuts off any serious retort or response from white students beyond accepting their premise that they are racist.

In the end, I would still defend Yancy’s right to teach his theories with the caveat that his advocacy of putting white students into special spaces goes not further than a pedagogical practice in a relevant course on racism.

When Yancy speaks of creating “dangerous spaces,” I do not take that term (as some) as meaning that he abuses white students but tries to get them to experience what he sees as the discomfort of non-whites in society.  However, in his writings to other professors, Yancy encourages faculty who do not teach race related courses to “call out implicit instances of white privilege when they see them.” The problem is how he defines such white privilege and inherent racism.  We recently discussed this difficulty in the controversial practice of “progressive stacking.”

Professor Yancy does offer interesting insights but they tend to be more rhetorical than analytical in my view. Indeed, his  outcome determinative and conclusory form of argument is itself a worthy subject of classroom discussion.  He denounces objectifying groups while doing precisely that with groups like men and whites.  These writings fall, in my view, considerably short of meaningful analysis. It is certainly emotive and thought-provoking but in the end it offers little beyond categorical statements and the “gift” of self-defining conclusions.


47 thoughts on ““Sexist By Virtue Of Being A Male”: Emory Professor Under Fire For Views On Race and Gender Bias”

  1. This silly old hack is the one with the privilege and the power. He’s made a career out of justifying open abuse of that privilege and power without any consequences. He gets off on yelling at children in his class who can’t talk back because they might be downgraded. His colleagues and superiors in the administration won’t call him out because (1) they agree with/are invested in his discriminatory views, and/or (2) they are complete wussies who are afraid to stand up to this silly old hack. This is your Modern Day Tyrant/LOSER.
    At least the old school tyrants DID something with their power, built things, moved the civilization forward albeit in their image. This guy and his ilk spend all their capital justifying an unearned privilege which will die with them.

  2. It’s nice to know my two $20 each and legal PhD’s maintain their validity but tell me Professor How are whites rascist by virtune of a certain skin tone without saying the same as blacks or are they ‘reverse racist?’ Or how about Mr. Obama is he ‘bi-racist?’ Or if a men is sexist by virtue of his share of X’s and Y’s is ta woman chromosome deficient? can’t have it both ways..ob three ways of whateveer the choices are now.. Given those choice is the movement to add yet another postiive or negative in that they were left out inentionally or not

    I suggest you might want to consider studying philosophy starting with 101. To help your predicament their are no charge courses offered on line at hillsboro.edu or ari.org Quickly less you become the footnote of an accusation that has no defense but is at the same time offensive.

  3. Abolish “Affirmative Action Privilege.”

    Abolish the Artifice of “Generational Welfare.”

    The American Thesis is Freedom and Self-Reliance.

    Redistribution of Wealth and Social Engineering are Pure Communism.

    Celebrate the Dominion of Merit!

    Let Freedom Ring!

  4. Seriously, how do people this obviously mentally addled continue to get tenure at universities? I’m so glad I graduated 30 years ago before PC became so prominent on college campuses. I consider myself a pretty reasonable person, but had I been in this guy’s class my response to him would have gotten me expelled.

  5. It is true but rather trivial that everyone makes some judgments based on race. How could it be otherwise? To keep picking at these judgments with anti-white vitriol is only going to inflame racial sentiment among people. If the goal is racial harmony, we should be doing quite the opposite — finding a way to live with our differences.

  6. The irony that those who’ve longest railed against class and division in society are now causing it is pitiable.

  7. Here’s my challenge for Prof. Yancy: Can you give a lecture on positive exemplars of the type of interwoven racial integration you want America to achieve? Can you teach us about the mindsets and behaviors of people who you cite as positive exemplars? How were their mindsets developed? How were the exemplary behaviors learned?

    Do that, and you’ll be actually contributing to as part of the solution. Shame and blame is a vacuous theory of social change.

    1. “Can you give a lecture on positive exemplars of the type of interwoven racial integration you want America to achieve?”

      Whoa, that’s some dangerous thinking on your part. You’re just supposed to inflame, not offer solutions.

  8. The man’s an obnoxious crank. That’s what the people who run this country have been up to more than 50 years: entrusting the task of sorting the labor market to institutions within which being an obnoxious crank is considered perfectly normal. Why not take away their toys, eh? No more public money, for starters.

  9. This 💩​ is getting really old. Who’s peddling this ridiculous PC garbage the Left another way to destroy our country from within by dividing everyone into different classes, turning people against one another. Once they accomplish their goal they will move in and turn our country into a Marxist, totalitarian state, eliminating freedom of speech, thought and guns, sound familiar. CA is actually proposing arresting someone in the medical profession for referring to someone in the wrong gender (gender of the persons choice not their biological reality). In such a brief time 8yrs this 💩​ has escalated to the heights of insanity, thanks to Obama and the Demo🐀​🐀​🐀​.

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