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8 Jun, 2020 20:05

UCLA ‘white privilege’ scandal: College professor fired for... not being racist enough?

UCLA ‘white privilege’ scandal: College professor fired for... not being racist enough?

A UCLA professor has been placed on leave after refusing to give black students preferential grades in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing. The college said his Martin Luther King-inspired attitude to race was “troubling.”

Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and the two weeks of civil unrest that followed have given American activists a fresh platform to air all manner of ethnic grievances, from demanding that whites renounce their supposed “privilege,” to calling for multi-trillion dollar reparation payments for slavery.

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For one group of students at the University of California Los Angeles’ Anderson School of Management, it was an opportunity to dodge an end-of-year examination. Last week, a group of minority students emailed Professor Gordon Klein, asking him to let black students sit out this week’s exams in light of recent events.

Klein refused. In an email supposedly from the professor, he explained his issues with the students’ racial grievances.

“Do you know the names of the classmates that are black?” he allegedly wrote. “How can I identify them, since we’ve been having online classes only? Are there any students that may be of mixed parentage, such as half black-half Asian? What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half?”

“One last thing strikes me: Remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the 'color of their skin.' Do you think that your request would run afoul of MLK’s admonition?”

The woke mob saw red, and a student named Preet Bains started a petition to have the professor fired. The petition, which describes Klein’s response as “woefully racist,” has attracted nearly 20,000 signatures, and UCLA has apparently sided with the aggrieved students. At some point since Friday, Klein was placed on leave. A Malibu Police Department spokesman later confirmed that it had increased police presence near Klein's home after he received multiple threats, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

In an email explaining his departure, the dean’s office explained that university management found his response to students “troubling.” 

“Respect and equality for all are core principles at UCLA Anderson,” the school said, in a statement to the Daily Bruin on Friday. “We apologize to the student who received it and to all those who have been as upset and offended by it as we are ourselves.” At that time, Klein had not yet been placed on leave.

Such stories exemplify the “safe space” culture of the modern university. However, the politics of grievance have leaked beyond the campus and into the ‘adult’ world too, especially in the wake of Floyd’s killing. Philadelphia Inquirer chief editor Stan Wischnowski resigned on Saturday, after a group of his journalists claimed a headline put their “lives at risk.” Meanwhile, the New York Times is in the throes of internal revolt, after the paper dared to run a column by a Republican senator.

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Professor Klein may have refused to get involved in racial discrimination, but that hasn’t stopped others from dipping their toes in the new, woke apartheid. Ridesharing firm Uber announced last week that it would cancel delivery fees for black-owned restaurants – a legally suspect move, and one that, as Klein argued, would be difficult to apply fairly.

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