Virginia Tech instructor’s syllabus apologizes to students for privilege of having white skin, being middle-class

News & Politics

A Virginia Tech instructor is making headlines after reportedly apologizing to her students of color for the privilege of having white skin and being straight and cisgendered, according to a Tuesday report from
Campus Reform.

What are the details?

In her syllabus, Dr. Crystal Duncan Lane, an instructor of human development and family science, apologized to her students of color and asked students to “join [her] on this journey” of fighting against inherent biases.

The syllabus for her Human Development 1134 class, which included a “Who I Am” section, read, “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.”

The blurb added that Duncan Lane believes that it is her duty as a white woman of privilege to confront racism head-on and fight for equity. She also included an apology to students of color for the “inexcusable horrors within our shared history” and said that the unfair privileges of having white skin and more are an “injustice.”

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“This is injustice,” she wrote. “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.”

Born with ‘innate racism’

The outlet reported that the class, according to one student, is “about disabilities.”

“Not political opinion, affiliation, nor judgement in any sort,” the student added. “If you are discussing disabilities, stick to your course.”

Another student added, “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.”

The Washington Examiner and Campus Reform both reached out to Duncan Lane for comment on the syllabus, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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