American University Holds Training Session On Avoiding Single Standard Grading To Achieve “Antiracist” Objectives

American University has brought in an academic from the University of Washington-Tacoma with a curious mission for an academic institution: to teach academics not to grade on the writing ability of students as opposed to their “labor.” Professor Asao Inoue believes that writing ability should not be assessed because such assessment interfere with “antiracist” objectives.

Inoue is the director of the UW-Tacoma Writing Center and has explained that “White language supremacy is perpetuated in college classrooms despite the better intentions of faculty, particularly through the practices of grading writing.” It appears that grading on writing ability is one of those acts of white supremacy. He has insisted that professors who use a single neutral standard for all students are perpetuating racism: “[using] single standard to grade your students’ languaging, you engage in racism. You actively promote white language supremacy, which is the handmaiden to white bias in the world.” 

He also previously declared: “I stand up here today asking everyone to listen, to see, to know you as you are, to stop saying shit about injustice while doing jack shit about it. We are all needed in this project, this fight, this work, these labors. But because most in the room, in our disciplines, are white, I have to speak to them too, many of whom sit on their hands, with love in their hearts, but stillness in their bodies.”

The thrust of Inoue’s lectures appear to be a “labor” focused grading system that expressly rejects uniformity of a single defined standard — the touchstone of academic work for generations. What is curious is that such non-uniform approaches to grading is an invitation for bias — the scourge of many universities from prior years where minorities and women faced fluid and often unfair grading practices.

The announced session was apparently organized with the university’s top diversity official and its vice president of campus life, Fanta Aw.American University would do well to give further thought to adopting such views and, at a minimum, have a broader debate over the pedagogical values of the university. Inoue’s views are not simply extreme but in my view inimical to the academic mission of most universities. It also does a disservice to students who overall show falling writing abilities. These students are not going to be evaluated in their careers by their “labor” or given tailored standards. They will be compared according to their objective abilities. Indeed, federal laws take a dim view of fluid standards and favor clearly defined measurements for performance.

What do you think?

109 thoughts on “American University Holds Training Session On Avoiding Single Standard Grading To Achieve “Antiracist” Objectives”

  1. Reviewing Ms. Aw’s background reveals an otherwise unemployable individual who exploited her immutable characteristics into a highly profitable scam.

  2. As a teacher of writing for blacks, whites and hispanics in high school English, freshman composition, technical writing, and various college-level literatures for seventeen years, I am amused by this post by Professor Turley. Of course, I am annoyed by mental midgets like the subject of this article who do not understand that the English language is a creation of the Anglo-Saxon white peoples in the British Isles, starting approximately fourteen-hundred years ago, and which is the lingua franca in most of the civilized world. For example, the language of international aviation is English, even in darkest Africa, which is very dark indeed. I wonder who the dean was who hired this idiot to lead the Writing Program. At the risk of enraging some of the readers here, I am willing to bet it was a woman.

    1. I’m amused that people who aren’t even born here can not just master The English language but thrive.

      Some people can even master more than one.

      As if you need to be white to be able to read and right?

      What exactly are you implying here?

      You do know many countries around the world speak and write English.

  3. It is incidents such as this that make one wonder why we lend academia so much credibility. These programs seem to serve as an attractor of persons who view themselves as being of great importance and possessing egos orders of magnitude higher than deserved. From a practical perspective, we as a society would be better served by sacking useless and problematic academics and their staff and the savings achieved could make education more affordable to greater numbers of students. It is clear from this man’s statements that his contribution is much lower than the wages he covets from the treasury.

    But I propose we could gain an understanding into why this academic professes such an approach to lowered student grading–such a system obviously allowed a fool such as he a place in society that he might not otherwise achieve had he been graded on the merit of his waning ability.

    1. lend academia so much credibility

      Fall Classes are starting at my state U and the daily email telegrams sent to all faculty, staff and students are beginning anew. Today’s highlights on campus are a window to what academia offers. Notice no mention of any scholarly, academic, rigorous pursuits. I find it a shame that none of our medical Grand Rounds are “marketed” to undergrad students precisely to pique the interest of those young students who might be the next Rosalind Franklin, Watson and Crick, Denton Cooley or Michael Debakey. Instead we have a festival at the main campus library. And Hip Hop and more

      Education is a business: unbridled capitalism is flourishing. Keep the kids happy to feed the gravy train with future idiots



      All Students Invited to Library Fest
      Cheer Students at the (School Mascot) Spirit Walk
      Black Awakening Choir To Hold Open Rehearsals
      (Univ Dept) Offers Hip Hop Instructional Course
      Virtual Immersive Gaming to Optimize Recovery in Low Back Pain
      Free Store To Hold Week-Long Grand Opening
      (NB: The Free Store is an on-campus resource that promotes equitable access to everyday needs)

      1. Estovir – I went to school in the very early 1960s and except for the one on Immersive Gaming (substitute pick up football) and the Free Store, the rest is bog standard for the first week of college.

        1. The Black Awakening Choir strikes me as marvelous and a Hip Hop Course should be required for all whites. Wonderful way for whites to embrace African American culture. However you stating you had these types of courses in the 1960s makes you fairly disingenious and argumentative, which for an attorney is par for the course

          1. Anonymous – I learned Hip Hop from whites. I have no idea what the hell The Black Awakening Choir is. Maybe they walk through the quad and sing, waking everyone to pleasant tunes.

              1. more like 50. when they said forty in the song they meant forty ounce beers, the ones that are served in paper bags and the diversity is out there drinking on the front porch this monday afternoon while we are at work

  4. “[using] single standard to grade your students’ languaging, you engage in racism. You actively promote white language supremacy, which is the handmaiden to white bias in the world.”

    Soft racism of low expectations.

  5. Just take up a trade and don’t get involved with any of these high minded phonys.

  6. Standardizing Disadvantage | Glenn Loury & John McWhorter [The Glenn Show]

    Immigration, Assimilation, & Western Culture | Glenn Loury & Amy Wax [The Glenn Show]

    1:40 A review of Amy’s recent troubles at Penn Law
    4:05 Amy: We need facts in order to speak critically about affirmative action
    15:42 Why Amy does not use the word “inferior” in reference to racial disparities

  7. If you run a company and seek college graduates for employees then avoid American University like the plague.

  8. There is no “white language” in America. There is English (and a vanishing pool of French if you’re a Cajun), and a government endlessly eager to translate everything into Spanish, Russian, and every other language. But for there centuries, the predominant trade and governmental language in North America has been English. Africans from former British colonies speak it better than many white Americans do. In Great Britain, there’s no “Ebonics”, there’s “the Queen’s English”.

    Having lived there for three months, I can confirm even white American college graduates like me have to make the effort to be understood to even shop in Britain, much less attend school and socialize. And the wall is much steeper in France, where, if your French is even slightly halting and accented, they pretend you haven’t spoken. When I came back from three months working in England, my friends kidded me about my British accent, but it’s just easier to speak the language of a dominant culture than to demand everyone else allow for your culture.

    The only supremacy in language is cultural, not racial.

  9. How incredibly racist and demeaning.

    They are saying that these people can’t compete and need different rules?

    What ever happened to remedial classes for kids to catch up?

    1. Inouye is proposing that American University cheat students who do not wish to be graded on the same level as everyone else, by assuming their deficient understanding of course material is due to “white language supremacy”. The only way this will work is to give these students diploma-mill degrees that don’t mean the same thing as degrees granted to those students who choose to be graded on how well they understand what the courses in their degree requirements taught. Eventually, the scam will spread and no course taken for degree credit will pretend to teach what the syllabus says it does.

      Fortunately for American University, political correctness will probably protect their accreditation as it now does Oberlin College’s.

  10. How can the intention be as Mr. Inouye states when there is so little evidence of American Standard English fluency upon which to base such a complaint? If it weren’t for ‘pop illiteracy’ as a category what huge proportion of the population would be graded as challenged illiterates?

    1. Re-reading th entire article I wonder what racist influences caused this outburst.

  11. The educational system is broken and the leftist inmates have taken over the educational asylum. As noted in this video, Ami Horowitz was able to collect more than 50 signatures in under 60 minutes from the Yale University community for a petition calling for the repeal of the First Amendment. This video was published December 16, 2015, so things have only gotten worse since then.

    1. Mr.Bublaerl,
      Ima not opposed to the teacha of a the eubonics.
      Ima justa dissapponteded that theres a no similar effort to recogniza the need for the teach da Italionics out ofa the respecta for my ona heritage.

    2. No, but it means that once prestigious universities won’t offer anything that community colleges don’t (apart from astronomical tuition).

      Students who are serious about learning will crack books they haven’t been assigned in class as well as the ones they are taught from, and that is how they will learn the nation’s customary trade and cultural language. Everyone else will pass their degree on the living room wall on the way to and from their McJobs.

      1. Students who are serious about learning will crack books they haven’t been assigned in class as well as the ones they are taught from, and that is how they will learn the nation’s customary trade and cultural language.

        Consider visiting a state university library. The main campus undergraduate library at mine rivals a daycare center. The librarians tell me so. At the medical campus library it is better but only because the MD and PhD candidates, mainly foreigners (no surprise), are diligent in studying where as the allied health students are not much better than the undergrads. A

        Students today do not read. Few buy textbooks. They download educational apps based on spaced repetition like Anki to memorize. They use Wikipedia, Youtube “educational” videos and online resources to pass their exams. Ask them to do a presentation before faculty or peers. Very sad.

        Critical thinking is not the norm. Not in medicine, not in the physical sciences, not in the liberal arts. Liberal arts? Whats that?

        Visit a state university. Then we will talk

        1. The main campus undergraduate library at mine rivals a daycare center. The librarians tell me so.

          It doesn’t, and they didn’t.

          1. DSS,
            “rivals a daycare center”

            If the undergraduate library is full of SJW temper tantrum tripe, then the analogy might be apt. 😉

        2. Estovir,
          “Critical thinking is not the norm. Not in medicine”

          It has moved to Functional Medicine.

        3. I attended and graduated from Louisiana Tech, which is a board of regents university. Its library was (when I went there) excellent for my needs not only as a biomedical engineering student, but an undergraduate research employee and co-founder of the university’s Shape Memory Alloys Working Group.

          I can’t speak for today’s students. I attended Tech in the 1980s. But for those of us who were interested in getting a university education, Tech supplied the necessary tools.

  12. I know a little about this. I am associated with UW.

    At astonishing levels, college Juniors cannot write. They cannot convey an idea. Even basic grammar, such as the use of a period to end a sentence, eludes them. Forget about structured content, such as compare-and-contrast, even when the answers are in a quiz question itself.

    It is common to watch students focused on their cellphones or laptops for an entire class. They are the 2.0-ers; and just barely. It is interesting to watch students complain about a professor and grading system when a professor informs them they are failing so the student can mitigate the trajectory. You should feel the energy and hear the complaints when a student is a 1.8 or 1.9. Surely there are points to be returned around the edges or “extra credit” available to only them?

    Excuses abound. A few days ago, a student wrote the prof. asking questions about the assignment at 2000 hours. The assignment was due the next day. The assignment was assigned the week prior and, as a writing project, structured: drafts, reviews, revision, etc. – all missed with no communication from the student. The student’s excuse was she was having a problem with daycare.

    Another student always – always – misses assignment deadlines, sometimes by weeks, and then argues about it. This is a student more consumed with his cellphone in class then lecture. This particular class is on computers and ethics. Apparently, deadlines are for others and unfair to him. See the irony?

    This is college. You are expected to be an adult. If you have a problem, use your pie hole otherwise the professor cannot help you. If your cell phone is more interesting then studies, then stay home and play Call of Duty and don’t waste our time. If your reproductive choices are inconvenient, then make other choices.

    1. T. Johnson,
      I just hope that UW has safe places for students to go to in order to avoid criticism from people like you.
      I think you missed the memo that “standards” and “expectations” are triggering anxiety and could damage some of the more sensitive snowflakes.

    2. Thomas Johnson– You have reminded me of a dear friend who, before retirement, was head of the Philosophy Dept at a University here in Texas.
      The first time one of his students pulled out a cell phone in class, he walked over to the student, took the cell phone, opened the door and threw it into the hallway……..then continued his lecture.
      He never had a problem with cell phones in class after that.

  13. Gee JT, thanks for another shovel full of irrelevancies for our Trumpsters to pick at.

    This “event” whatever it was – JT says AU “brought in”, as if he was a late season trade to get them over the top in the playoffs – took place last February and I think AU is still there and not doing anything this guy wants.


    1. Correct-the-Record employee has nothing to offer concerning the subject at hand, so complains that the moderator brought it up. Because, you know, we cannot mention things which might reflect badly on the liberal establishment.

      1. anon1 and a few others get irked when Professor Turley does not cover exactly what they think should be covered.
        Maybe Turley will go out of his way to please these people, have them dictate acceptable subject matter for what Turley writes about.

        1. How about JT covering something worth anyone’s concern?

          As I noted, this non-entity spoke ;last February at AU and as far as we know – that is as far as JT knows because WTF is going to take the time to run this BS down – had zippo affect on their policy.

          But hey, you keep at it!

          I think you’re just about gonna’ catch that red dot moving along the wall….. whoops, it’s on the floor now and moving faster!!! Get it!!

          1. We can see your Hyoid Bone. There is a great strong tree down yonder. Put this rope over your prickly red head and lets watch you swing hither

            Swing low, sweet little Red Hen


          2. The life of academic institutions is one of his concerns. You can skip the post if it doesn’t interest you. Or get your own blog.

            Or make an argument in good faith every once in a while.

            1. TIA, the “event” happened in February, and as far as we know AU has not crumbled and this guy’s idea received the attention it deserved – until now.

              1. the “event” happened in February,

                So what?

                AU has not crumbled

                Again, always the red herring with you.

                this guy’s idea received the attention it deserved – until now.

                You haven’t a clue what sort of intra-office memoranda have passed back and forth. He was invited. That should tell you something if you weren’t determined to be shill.

      2. TIA, the professor in question has nothing to do with the “liberal establishment”. In fact he has not much to do with anything in the real world worthy of our concern.

        Your like the cat chasing the laser spot.

        1. TIA, the professor in question has nothing to do with the “liberal establishment”.

          I take it you utter manifest falsehoods just to amuse yourself.

          1. Wait TIA, you’re saying you’ve heard this guy’s ideas picked up and promoted by a national or regional figure you’ve heard of? Like who?

    1. “:Harrison Bergeron” is the late Kurt Vonnegut’s main claim to cultural perceptiveness.

      Our culture no longer teaches our young to aspire to intellectual excellence. It doesn’t even ask them to learn how to think for themselves. The classical Black American authors didn’t write in Ebonics, so they will be closed off to those students in American University who think clear, concise English is white supremacy.

      1. Black writers today don’t write in dialect, either, except when it’s necessary in stage plays. It’s for informal oral communication. It’s not a problem for you or anyone else. There’s no point in complaining for the hell of it.

  14. “The alternative is a post-racial, meritocratic society, where the same expectations and standards apply regardless of race-ethnicity.”

    Seemed like we were on the way there, until someone realized they could amass quite a war chest by spewing trash that pleased her financiers.

    1. @slohrss29

      We were promised a merit based society when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Decent people in both parties believed that different groups and races were equal and this would be empirically shown once legal restrictions were removed.

      Well the gap remains and has for 50 plus years. Name an area where it has not. Instead of considering the possibility that different groups evolved differently over the millenia, society assumes that if test scores, school performance, social pathologies, etc. are not equally distributed throughout different groups, the only possible explanation is discrimination.

      And the goal posts keep getting moved whenever certain groups do not do well in school, job hiring and performance, following laws, etc.

      I wish this gap did not exist and groups really were (or could) be made “equal”.

      I say the above, not because I “hate” others who look “different” than I. I’m Hispanic actually, for what it is worth. I say it because it is objectively true. Of course, to leftists the only explanation possible for beliefs such as mine is “racism”.

      When will this egalitarian madness end?

      “Egalitarianism is creationism for liberals”.


  15. Here we have a concise example of where multiculturalism wants to take this country….different sets of standards and expectations to be applied after making a subjective, appearance-heavy classification of a person into a racial category.

    The alternative is a post-racial, meritocratic society, where the same expectations and standards apply regardless of race-ethnicity.

    There are arguments for the superiority of the latter based on morality and practicality. It is more practical because it obviates the awkward (and error-prone) necessity to classify a person
    before interacting with them (in order to know how to act, and what to expect of them). Which is more practical….a social system where you only have to learn one set of agreed-upon rules, or one where you’re supposed to know perhaps a dozen different rule-sets, and often without any agreement on them?

    From a moral standpoint, which social architecture is more inclusive (a basic human need being to be included)??

    Multiculturalism appeals to groupings, which then encourages “in vs. out” or “us vs. them” walls of identity exclusion. It brings out the worst tribal instincts which bend thinking away from merit,
    and toward bias conferred by identity. This bias is divisive and counterproductive.

    The post-racial mindset is oriented toward inclusion based on merit and responsibility-taking, where ethnicity is treated as inconsequential…something to be ignored.

    The unity of society and opportunity for inclusion is the strongest argument for a post-racial principle. We are well on the way to achieving this goal.

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