A professor at Penn State picked out a white student at a lecture and claimed he benefits from the color of skin, unlike people of color.
The story: A video of sociology professor Sam Richards made the rounds on social media this week. The clip shows Richards discussed the issue of racism.
At the beginning of the clip, the professor can be seen walking up to a student after saying that he could take any “average white guy” as an example. He then argued that the student, who was asked to stand up, would have an advantage over any person of color, regardless of how similar their accomplishments are, because the student is white.
The lecture took place last month, according to Fox News.
What the professor said: “I just take the average White guy in class, whoever it is, it doesn’t really matter,” Richards says in the video.
“Dude, this guy here. Stand up, bro. What’s your name, bro?” he said to a white student, who identified as Russel.
The professor argued that they could have identical educational backgrounds but the black student would still have less favorable chances of success because of his skin color.
“Look at Russell, right here, it doesn’t matter what he does,” Richards tells the rest of the students. “If I match him up with a Black guy in class, or a Brown guy, even … who’s just like him, has the same GPA, looks like him, walks like him, talks like him, acts in a similar way, has been involved in the same groups on campus, takes the same leadership positions, whatever it is … and we send them into the same jobs … Russell has a benefit of having White skin.”
The university defended the profession in a statement to Fox News, noting that sometimes, clips that are shared on social media “are taken out of a longer lecture/class discussion, and at times taken out of context.”
“Professor Richards purposefully teaches in a manner designed to promote discussion across a spectrum of opinions. His class is a popular elective, in which each semester hundreds (~800) of students join, bringing their varied perspectives,” the school said in a statement.
“The class is quite balanced with individuals from different ethnic, gender and political backgrounds. Richards and his course colleagues take time to discuss opinions from many perspectives — from liberal to conservative — and the classroom conversation is framed in a thoughtful way; this is supported in post-course surveys among students who have taken the class,” Penn State said.
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