Under my new policy, black students will be penalized for coming into class late. The one-point deduction will be given only to the person coming in late. The same approach will be followed when blacks bring a cell phone into my class. A one-point deduction will be given only to the black person with the cell phone in his possession. Finally, disruptions like going potty in class and passing class notes back and forth (to someone who skipped the previous lecture and fell behind) will be punished. A one-point deduction will go to the disruptive black student but no other black student will be punished.
The policy will be quite different, however, for white students. When a white student comes in late, brings a cell phone into a lecture, or otherwise disrupts my class I will apply a one-point deduction to the final average of every white person in the class. This may seem unfair at first but my new policy has solid support in existing policies within the UNC system.
For example, our affirmative action policies are clearly punishing white students seeking admission to most UNC schools by holding them to a higher standard than blacks. We penalize the individual white student even if he has never engaged in an act of racial discrimination. This is because other whites have done so in the past. So, in a sense, my new white civility policy is not very original. Like the admissions policies, it punishes the innocent white majority for the sins of the guilty white minority.
But the UNC system has a different view of the relationship between guilty and innocent blacks. We are reminded of that every time a black student commits a crime on campus. The practice of publishing a photo of a guilty black student – or merely attaching the word “black” to a suspect’s description in student newspapers - is met with scorn within the educational community. This is because we bend over backwards to avoid punishing innocent blacks for the sins of guilty blacks. This policy helps us to avoid negatively stereotyping black people although we exhibit no concern for unfairly stereotyping innocent whites. As one can easily see, my new black civility policy is not very original either.
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