Students upset about 'white privileges' assignment at Lone Star College

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

TOMBALL, Texas - A controversial assignment from one professor at  Lone Star College - Tomball campus has some students upset. At least one of them has filed a complaint and refused to complete the assignment.

"I was shocked, I thought it was a joke," the student told Local 2. He asked not to be identified because he doesn't want any backlash from the professor for speaking out.

The lesson was a "White Privileges" worksheet.

"There was a white privileges handout and a white privileges checklist and a white privileges quiz to see how privileged you are as a white person."

The questions made the student feel singled out and uncomfortable. Even though the class is online, he told Local 2 he didn't feel right answering the questions.

"I didn't feel comfortable sitting by myself at a computer with no one around me, I couldn't imagine if I was in a classroom setting and these questions were put in front me of," he said.

The worksheet had 20 questions on it and students were instructed  to check all that apply to them. For example, one of the questions read: "If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race."

Local 2 asked other Lone Star College students what they think.

"I don't think people should be judged based on their color or anything," said Giovanni Hernandez. "I would probably be offended."

"I would find it uncomfortable, " said Brady Adams. "I don't think it's a good idea."

In a written statement, the college said, "Diversity is an important topic covered in the Lone Star College Student Success Course.  In addition to its importance, it can also be a very difficult topic to teach, facilitate, and even discuss with students.  The structure of the Student Success Course allows individual faculty members to create their own lesson that helps to illustrate the various elements of diversity. Some of the topics addressed can include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, and religious beliefs, just to name a few.  The purpose of this lesson is encourage students to not only explore the rich dimensions of diversity that are contained within each person, but to also take time to reflect on the aspects of diversity that make up who they are as individuals.  The assignment you inquired about was a supplement exercise with no point value assigned to it."

The student who complained said he hopes this particular professor who assigned the white privileges worksheet will re-think the handout in the future.

Local 2 reached out to the professor through email and by telephone but she never responded. 

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