You can’t be singing Rihanna’s “Umbrella” if you happen to be a white fella – fella.
That’s what kids learned during a lesson on “privilege” and “microaggressions” in a human relations theory class at the University of Oklahoma.
Ah, yes. There’s nothing quite like a bit of white-shaming courtesy of the American taxpayers.
“I was told as a white woman it’s insulting and a microaggression for me to cover or sing a Rihanna song because I’m not from Barbados,” a student who was in the class told me. “I was literally told to go sing the Star-Spangled Banner.”
The student, who asked not to be identified, sent me copies of both assignments – including a 100-item checklist to determine how much “privilege” you have.
For example, you’ve got privilege if “a stranger has never asked to touch my hair, or asked if it is real.”
Straight, white guys who have a job, vacation in Cabo, and go to church on Sunday are “very privileged.” Atheists, Muslims and anyone who works at a fast-food joint would be considered under-privileged.
The student who reached out to me wants to work in human resources – and the class is mandatory.
“They teach you that if you are not part of the minority you cannot be discriminated against,” she said. “A black person cannot be racist to a white person. A female cannot be sexist towards a man because men are the majority.”
Here’s a sampling of the 100-question privilege checklist:
· I am white.
· I have never been told I would “burn in hell” for my sexual orientation.
· I still identify as the gender I was born in.
· I work in a salaried job.
· I have never done my taxes myself.
· I have had an unpaid internship.
· I don’t know what “Sallie Mae” is.
· I have frequent flier miles.
· I spend Spring Breaks abroad.
· My parents are heterosexual.
· I can afford a therapist.
· I’ve used prescription drugs recreationally.
· I have never been called a terrorist.
· I have never questioned any of my identities.
· I had a car in high school.
· I’ve always had cable.
The students were also asked to determine whether 32 scenarios were either harmless conversations or microaggressions. But it turned out to be a trick question – because the professor and the class mutually agreed that all the scenarios were examples of micoaggressions. Here are some of the items that are conversational no-no’s:
· “That’s so gay.” (When calling something/someone stupid);
· “I need a new gay.” (A girl talking about finding a new gay best friend);
· “They have gay marriage, so they should be happy now” (A straight person talking about the Marriage Equality Act);
· “I think true marriage is between a man and a woman because that’s what the Bible says, but I respect everyone’s choices.” (A woman discussing marriage equality in a classroom discussion).
“That blew my mind,” the student told me – referring to the gay marriage question. “If I’m asked my opinion, I can’t say it because it’s offensive?”
The student said there was a “huge” classroom discussion about the issue.
“The professor said if it (your opinion) hurts others you should question those views – specifically the Bible,” she said. “The professor said we should question the Bible and question where those views came from.”
The student was smart enough to determine that the professor was advocating for putting limitations on free speech.
“If we can’t express differing views, how can we learn?” she wondered. “Christian students are being taught to question their values. They’re being told their values are wrong.”
The student said it’s beyond frustrating because she just wants to learn how to be a good human resources person.
“I don’t have time to play games with professors who are trying to push their agenda in me,” she said.
And unfortunately, what happens at the University of Oklahoma – won’t stay at the University of Oklahoma.
I am in full support of snooping on your kids if you have any reason to believe that they are getting into trouble.
One day, these privileged snowflakes armed with their microaggressions will be in charge of HR departments all across the fruited plain.
So allow me to offer some advice to all of you white folks out there.
If you plan on doing karaoke at the company picnic – you might want to skip Rihanna skip Jay-Z.
I’d recommend Barry Manilow – or maybe Donny and Marie. Sigh.