White Virginia Tech professor apologizes for her race (and racism) on course syllabus

September 14, 2021 • 9:15 am

(Note: this report comes from a right-wing college-monitoring site and I haven’t been able to verify it.  However, I don’t have reason to doubt it, either. Should I give similar caveats—from the opposite political direction—when citing PBS, the New York Times, and so on?)

This is what the madness on campus has come to: Crystal Duncan Lane, an “instructional faculty member” at Virginia Tech’s Department of Human Development and Family science, apparently handed out her syllabus for a course (I can’t find the exact course, but a student says it was “about disabilities” and the major lists “An Introduction to Disability Studies“, which must be the one).  At any rate, Campus Reform, which has carried many reports that I independently gave on this site, says that Lane’s syllabus included this introduction to the instructor:

I am a Caucasian cisgender female and first-generation college student from Appalachia who is of Scottish, British, and Norwegian heritage. I am married to a cisgender male, and we are middle class. While I did not ‘ask’ for the many privileges in my life: I have benefitted from them and will continue to benefit from them whether I like it or not. This is injustice. I am and will continue to work on a daily basis to be antiracist and confront the innate racism within myself that is the reality and history of white people. I want to be better: Every day. I will transform: Every day. This work terrifies me: Every day. I invite my white students to join me on this journey. And to my students of color: I apologize for the inexcusable horrors within our shared history.

Given that this is a course on disabilities, it’s odd that she doesn’t mention that she’s also privileged by not being disabled (assuming she’s able bodied). But the most disturbing part is the implication that all white people are innately racist. This could have been written by the team of Kendi and DiAngelo.

The worst part is that education is supposed to teach people about things and about how to think and criticize, not propagandize them as Lane has done in her “introduction”. She tells them that she (and all the white students) are participating in a massive “injustice” right now. And really, is it a matter of student interest that she tells them that every day, in every way, she’ll get better and better? This is what the kids call “TMI“.

Yes, we have the written equivalent of a penitente, those Catholics who go around scourging their backs with whips until the blood streams down, all to imitate the Biblical trials of Jesus and to punish themselves for being sinners.

In the article, two students (one gives her name) beef about this statement, one saying this: “It hurts that someone says I was born with ‘innate racism’ because of my skin color. [It] makes me feel like I should hide and worry about everything I say.”

And well she should. The chilling of speech by colleges and professors setting forth what statements are ideologically acceptable on campus and in class severely diminishes the value of education. And we already know it’s widespread. Inside Higher Ed reports the results of a survey from September of last year and gives a disturbing graph:

Sixty percent of students have at one point felt they couldn’t express an opinion on campus because they feared how other students, professors or college administrators would respond, according to a survey report published Tuesday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, a campus civil liberties watchdog group, and RealClearEducation, an online news service. The survey of 19,969 undergraduate students from 55 colleges and universities was administered from April to May by College Pulse, a research company.

Note below that all comfort levels are below 25%.  It’s instructors like Crystal Duncan Lane that create a climate like this.

52 thoughts on “White Virginia Tech professor apologizes for her race (and racism) on course syllabus

  1. ‘ I am and will continue to work on a daily basis to be antiracist and confront the innate racism within myself that is the reality and history of white people. ‘

    Japanese people live in a high-trust society where people often get their wallet handed back to them before they realise they have lost it. Japanese cities are also safe, because Japanese people can trust others not to attack them.

    Does this mean Japanese people trust Japanese people more than they would trust the people they live with if they moved to say, Detroit, or New York?

    I would say, yes. Does this mean Japanese people are innately racist, because they don’t trust other people as much as they trust Japanese?

    If you live in a high-trust society, you will appear to be racist and have privilege, because you know people will trust and respect you, simply because of who you are – a member of a high-trust society.

    So should white people apologise for having built-up high-trust societies – a process which took a long, long time?

    1. … should white people apologise for having built-up high-trust societies …

      Which white people? All white people, everywhere? Or some subgroup thereof? You’ve cast a helluva wide net with that one.

      All this mutual high-trust would’ve come as news to the Hatfields and the McCoys, to the Clantons and the Earps, to the Aryan Brotherhood and the Dixie Mafia.

  2. Imagine if you had to introduce yourself professionally like this. Why should this woman have to debase herself like this?

    1. Imagine if you had to introduce yourself professionally like this. Why should this woman have to debase herself like this?

      This is taken as a sign of virtue.

  3. You claim that you are concerned about free speech on campus, cancel culture, etc., and then you link to Campus Reform, which is in the business of harassing profs whom they consider ¨left-wing¨ on campuses?

    1. This is an example of what I’m talking about: someone trying to tar me for using information from a conservative publication. Just because I got some information from it does not mean I agree with their mission, or with most of what they say. Are you bright enough to understand that? All I care about is whether the facts are right, and, then I give my own take on the facts.

      If I had another source that wasn’t Campus Reform, I would have used it. Presumably you’d allow me to use the New York Times, which is in the business of promulgating Woke ideology.

      Jebus.

    2. What would you regard as being “harassing”? Does publicly criticising people amount to “harassment”? Or is it just how discussion proceeds in society?

    3. and then you link to Campus Reform, which is in the business of harassing profs whom they consider ¨left-wing¨ on campuses?

      This is so absurd. The assumption is that (a) publications with open editorial policies supportive of the world view of Kendi and DiAngelo are not hesitant to publish news that conflicts with that narrative, or (b) news conflicting with that narrative is false. I know people who for years I regarded as utterly rational who now appear to consider any publication at odds with the Woke narrative as intellectually corrupt. It is mystifying, but is apparently what happens after one starts to believe in Wokeness. One is then able to perceive that the instructor in this story is simply acknowledging her whiteness and white privilege, as is appropriate (though ridiculed by the racists).

  4. This “trust” you think you see in the people of Japan is part of their culture, their society. It is their character. They would be the same way toward others, they would return your wallet just the same. They do not steal from others at work so if you normally have security at work, you will need none in Japan. This has nothing to do with racism, it is simply part of their culture.

    1. Japanese people do not trust non-Japanese as much as they trust Japanese.

      My point was that being a member of a high-trust society automatically gives you privilege. You get respect (all other things being equal) simply because of who you are.

      In a low-trust society, you have to earn respect, and are very concerned about losing it, and are naturally jealous of people who don’t have to worry about being disrespected.

      1. You are mixing things that do not go together. The trust or lack of trust you see between white and black people is not the same at what you refer to in Japanese people. There is a difference between culture or society of a people and this “trust” you want to refer to. I worked in Japan for 5 years. I also worked in the same environment here in this country. Here you must have security, In Japan you do not, This has nothing to do with racism.

        1. Are you saying that Japan is a more high-trust society than the US? This is true, but it doesn’t have relevance to what I was saying. I chose Japan simply because it is a more high-trust society than the US.

          Are you saying ‘white privilege’ does not exist? That is nonsense. White privilege obviously exists.

          Are you saying white privilege is not related to the idea that white people are trusted and respected by society simply because they are white?

          I don’t understand your point.

          1. I guess you are correct you do not understand my point. End of story. Your bring Japanese into this matter is simply wrong. Has nothing to do with white privilege. The people in Japan do not steal. That has nothing to do with trust.

    2. I used to live in Tokyo and WAS that person returning a wallet (though I have here also), and I had a friend have (her) lost pocketbook returned by Japan Rail. You CAN leave your laptop unattended in a coffee shop safely.
      It took me years to realize that the very high social trust in Japan is probably the best thing about living there. It does mean higher racism overall which is lessened if you can speak Japanese.

      Pinker asserts “monoethnic societies have more social trust” (to that effect) – but I think they loose a lot along the way. Just my opinions.
      D.A.
      NYC

  5. This work terrifies me: Every day. I invite my white students to join me on this journey.

    It occurs to me that, if I were a white student exposed to this “invitation” on a regular basis, I might decide keep a polite distance between myself and black students. Every day is another opportunity to cause offense. Every moment is fraught with peril. Even my presence is likely an unwelcome reminder of inequality, innate racism, and unjustified privilege.

    Good will towards students of color is going to pull me in opposite directions, and, being young and not particularly confident in myself, avoiding making friends in the first place is going to look a lot safer. It’s a journey along the path of least resistance.

    I can’t imagine how these kinds of messages are helping students of either color feel more comfortable with each other.

    1. No, Sastra, you’ve got it all wrong! By keeping a “polite distance” from Black students, you are perpetrating white silence, which is violence, and are also centering your white innocence and white comfort over confronting and atoning for your innate white oppressiveness! That’s racist!!!

      /sarcasm

      An unwinnable game: the only way to win is not to play.

      1. Of course, rituals of self-flagellation like this will only generate awkwardness between whites and members of the BIPOC population—thereby, if anything, adding to racial distrust. But improving trust or amity is not their purpose. As our host implies, the ritual of penitente is for the purpose of saving the penitent’s soul. It’s revival is part of the religion of woke narcissism.

        1. No, the purpose is to destabilize society since change can come only through revolution. The purpose also is to garner protection against assaults by the Woke and to evangelize.

  6. Anyone can apologize, why don’t these people quit their jobs so a real POC can take over, given all their money away to BLM (so they can buy some more upscale real estate) and move to Baltimore or Detroit and teach public schools? Or if not, then at least a public scourging to show their zeal and devotion to racial purity.

  7. People on this site are all down on Christians, but the most weird, fanatical, masochistic stuff these days is all from the Anti-Racist camp. When do they stop burning books and burning people you have to wonder. I imagine pretty soon they’ll start loping off their genitals to stop racism. You have to go to the Philippines to find anything comparably daffy, and that’s a different culture.

  8. Something is broken in the mind of a relevant number of people, if history can be trusted very ugly things, worse of what is happening now, will be the result.

  9. Jesus Haploid Christ, this was painful to read.

    I disagree with Ayn Rand on many things, but I think she described the collectivist mindset perfectly in Atlas Shrugged:

    “You hate the man who has a dollar more than you; that dollar is rightfully yours; he makes you feel morally defrauded. You fear the man who has a dollar less than you; that dollar is rightfully his; he makes you feel like a moral defrauder.”

    Substitute “privilege” for “dollar” and make the language gender-neutral, and this is the progressive mindset to a tee.

  10. Should I give similar caveats—from the opposite political direction—when citing PBS, the New York Times, and so on?

    I suspect you should caveat all media quotations. You will be pleasantly surprised when the quote is accurate. Plus there’s always the risk that the quote will be modified, apologised for or editorially expunged, leaving you high and dry.

    Cynical, moi?

  11. Where is “innate racism” located? Is it genetic? So then, no blank slate?

    I think what you see in these instances is general guilt channeled into socially approved expiatory rituals.

    1. Not guilt, the wish to be the better of someone else. Not by merit but by virtue signalling. Strengthened by hate and racism.

  12. It’s a minor waste of time and effort that could’ve been spent on actual instructional development. But it’ll likely create a larger waste of time and effort (that could’ve been better spent on learning) if the students decide this is something they want to use class time to discuss.

    I think in some ways this honestly reflects the privilege of the student body more than the professor. Worrying about the privilege of the professor is a luxury; it means you don’t have to worry much about paying the college tuition bill or how to balance mastering the coursework with your job and home responsibilities.

  13. On another forum, I’m having a discussion about “original sin” with a Christian. In my opinion, this “if you are white, you are racist” mentality is pretty much the same thing and my reaction is the same. If I’ve done something wrong, I’ll take responsibility for it, but I’m not going to take the blame for things that my ancestors did.

    A classic advertising tactic is to invent a problem, make people believe they should be concerned about the problem and then sell them something to fix the make believe problem. Original sin is “the problem”. Christian salvation is the solution. All Christian proselytisers need to do is persuade people that original sin is their problem. I believe the same thing is going on here. Convince white people they are racist and they need to be ashamed of it and then offer them the “solution” which is basically to hand over all rights and privileges to black people and also don’t question the tactics of the antiracists because racists don’t have a right of reply.

    Another example. On another web site (that shall remain nameless but is a woke car crash), the chief blogger has raised the question that Zeiss is problematic. Zeiss is a German company that makes optical instruments. I’m led to believe they are the best optical instruments. In both the First and Second World Wars, Zeiss optics gave a measurable advantage to the Germans in naval battles, but during WW2, Zeiss made use of forced labour in their factories. So should Zeiss be canceled. Perhaps they should be forced to atone by giving Jewish and eastern European scientists free microscopes.

    Or maybe the Zeiss of today is 80 years removed from the Zeiss of the Second World War and the people who work there are not responsible for the actions of the people who worked there in the 1940’s.

    1. A classic advertising tactic is to invent a problem, make people believe they should be concerned about the problem and then sell them something to fix the make believe problem.

      When I’m watchin’ my TV, and a man comes on and tells me
      How white my shirts can be
      But, he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
      The same cigarettes as me

    2. A statement such as: “All X people are Y”, where X is the racial group into which a person has been born, by accident of history, and Y is any meaningful adjective, is one of two things:

      1. Trivial (all white people are white). OR:
      2. Nearly perfectly distilled racism

    3. I believe in the interim the Soviets relieved Zeiss of a good deal of their burdensome privilege. These days they play second fiddle to the uber-priviliged Leica. And Contax had all their privilege removed and consequently died. And all of this was related only to whether they were in the Soviet zone or not.

  14. This is so sad that the unfortunate instructor feels like she has to do this. Why should she feel the need to talk about things that are so deeply personal in such a public way—her marital status, her sexual preferences, her husband’s sexual preferences? Why should she have to self-flagellate regarding her race and her family history? Why should she have to apologize for a heritage she didn’t choose? Why should she have to express such self hate—to either truly hate herself or to pretend to. This is so sick and sad.

    I was a paleontology professor at Virginia Tech in the 1980’s and 1990’s—a time when one could walk upright with pride at one’s accomplishments, a time when expressions of self-hate we’re not part of the job description.

  15. This instructor is from Appalachia? I could easily imagine her life having difficulties that many people of color didn’t experience.

    “Note below that all comfort levels are below 25%.”

    Only 25% are comfortable “discussing a controversial political topic with your classmates.” At college, a large purpose of which is to confront the student with new, challenging topics.

  16. This is laudatory and normal … for a person surrendering (or being forced) to publicly self-criticize, with an armed and haughty crowd of Red Guard thought police gathered around her, ready to beat her if she doesn’t. After she is done, they will put her in chains and drag her to a Re-education gulag.

    Don’t we see this? Don’t we recognize this? We are repeating the history not learned from the Terrors of Mao, Stalin, and Hitler.

  17. The Disability Industry has been a hotbed of wokeness for a long time. I used to go to disability conferences decades ago so it is somewhat familiar to me. While they were very interesting and inspirational, you could also see the strong policing of the “right” way to think about, and speak about, people with disabilities. I had to always be on my guard to avoid saying something the wrong way. I suspect people in this area are very comfortable thinking in the CRT/woke manner.

  18. Crystal Duncan Lane of course describes her ritual of expiation as “this work”, In line with the conventions of DiAngelo-speak. The absence of a publication list on her Virginia Tech page made me wonder whether shrill expiation for “white privilege” is her substitute for the sort of work that scholars and researchers used to do, i.e., scholarship and research. But my unkind suspicion was unwarranted, and Dr. Lane’s published work is listed in Researchgate. She has coauthored 3 articles and 1 chapter in the last seven years, two of which, both in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, are the following.

    “Good Food: The Importance of “Healthy,” “Green,” “Fair,” and “Affordable” Attributes to Food Shoppers Across Three Sites”; and
    “Factors Influencing Eating Behaviors of College Students: Dining Out vs Eating at Home”.

  19. A class syllabus isn’t just something that students see. It becomes part of their dossier as they move on toward promotion and perhaps tenure if they are in that track. Everything in a syllabus is in part calculated with that thing in mind.

  20. I have a simple principle: I don’t take responsibility or apologize for anything I didn’t personally do. And I don’t take my existence as a cis-gendered white male as something I am responsible for. It’s my parents’ fault.

  21. A statement such as: “All X people are Y”, where X is the racial group into which a person has been born, by accident of history, and Y is any meaningful adjective, is one of two things:

    1. Trivial (all white people are white). OR:
    2. Nearly perfectly distilled racism

    I’ve had intelligent, educated people say to me: “The are some formulations where ‘all white people are racist’ is true.” And, of course, they fail to see the irony of this statement.

  22. Perhaps using “her” below stops some from continuing, but:

    I hope her course is not compulsory in any of that institution’s programs.

    If not, most of the faculty there should quite deliberately and publicly strongly recommend that no one take that course. Give her a decade for so to grow up into an adult human.

    If it is, those with responsibility for the curriculum in that program need to take a hand in creating a new course replacement, and keeping her a million miles away from it.

    If she has no tenure, it’s time, as suggested above, to find her a job in a Detroit lower class neighbourhood, and get rid of her from post-secondary education.

    As if that’s likely to happen…..

  23. Look, a huge point of the Catholic Church is to have a centralized system of authority so they can crack down on the total nut jobs at the fringes. A faith-based system like Anti-Racism lacks a central hierarchy, so it really means the crazies run the asylum, and with virtue signaling, you have a positive reinforcement loop so you have to keep escalating to something even more absurd to prove your zeal for the cause. It will get worse before it gets better, because the people subsidizing this craziness will have to get either scared or freaked out before it gets dialed back, and currently its treated as some kind of do-gooder renaissance fair for ‘nice’ people.

  24. Her self-flagellation is bad enough, but her use of colons and capitalization is something else. Didn’t she get the memo about capital letters?

  25. Given that this is a course on disabilities, it’s odd that she doesn’t mention that she’s also privileged by not being disabled (assuming she’s able bodied).

    If I understand this issue correctly, her disability is that she was born white.

  26. Instructor, not a professor.

    Anti-racist is not the same as ‘not racist,’ and she’s obviously not implying that all white people are racist.

    Yes, obviously the caveats about an actual newspaper with a fact checking department and a right wing news site with an editorial goal should be different.

    Of course you should doubt an article that’s completely one sided, doesn’t try to confirm the stories of two anonymous students, and provides a single broken link.

    And maybe it’s a bit worrisome that there’s a web site out there asking right students to anonymously rat on their instructors and republishing their accusations without checking them? Seems as bad as Turning Point’s ‘report your professor’ stuff.

    1. First of all, in the Kendi-an world, you are either a racist or an anti-racist. There is no middle ground.
      I gave her title in the second paragraph, an “instructional faculty member,” i.e. an instructor. “Professor” is an honorific.

      I will continue to check this story, but for the meantime I’ve taken it as true BUT inserted a caveat. I would advise you to be a little less peremptory in your comments, though. And don’t forget that there are plenty of American universities with “bias reporting” forms where the accusers can be anonymous and the consequences are more dire–they can be expulsion.

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