Did you hear about the new website called Professor Watchlist that seeks to “expose and document” professors who supposedly “discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”? Yes . . . it’s a thing.
While my name is (not yet) on there, I tend to ask students to question society, to challenge perspectives, to think critically. I include readings and course material that represent diverse races/cultures/sexualities/belief systems, etc. I try to allow for alternative views, including conservative ones, but the I believe that education should be about introducing people to other ways of thinking so that when one forms an opinion it is based on knowledge not just emotion or conspiracy theories. When I assign research projects, I require my students to find sources that represent opposing perspectives, so that people can make well-rounded arguments.
Someday, I suppose . . . all of this will put me on “The List.”
This made me think about all “the lists” I might be placed on soon . . . lists that mean that life is NOT “normal” and that people have a right to be afraid.
The Jewish List
I remember years ago being surprised when I started receiving mail that was specifically target to the Jewish population, even though I did not belong to a synagogue at the time. There may have been no official registry, but this “list” exists somewhere.
Should I be afraid? Well, when CNN decided to ignore and normalize the question “Are Jews people?” . . . the simple answer is yes.
But, I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to be treated as something other. I refuse to be silent. (And, as a side-note, even though I am on this list, it will not stop me from registering as Muslim if it comes down to it).
People Married to Someone of a Different Race
Did you know that the year before I was born, my marriage would not have been legal? Now, I realize that is not an issue under discussion now, but in a world ruled by white supremacists who feel threatened about the purity of the race . . . this, too, is a list that could be problematic.
Artists of all Types
Over the past few days our president-elect, probably as a diversionary tactic, deflected attention from his settling a lawsuit and other horrific things by picking fights with the theatre community, a television show, and the media. Many people made light of this, but history tells me that we need to be even more alert. There is a reason that artists tend to be attacked, imprisoned, and killed in despotic regimes. There is a reason that one of the first things to go is freedom of speech. Examples. like the cultural revolution in China, exist throughout history. Why should we think this is any different?
Perhaps the most dangerous list of all, now. I am proud to say I am a feminist. I believe that we should all be equal. I believe that people should be able to choose how they live their lives, as long as they do no harm to others. But, our government has now been taken over by a bunch of men who fear women in power, with the support of some women who fear women in power. This is a list that I choose to be on, but it is a list that carries danger with it.
The “I will not be silent” list.
This is a list of my own creation. This is the list where I say, label me as you wish but I will not stop fighting for my rights and the rights of other. My name may be on many lists, even ones I haven’t yet thought of, but I make this promise . . . my name will go down as one who has fought on the side of goodness, while the names of the new leaders of our country will only live on in infamy.
I’m okay with that.
Will you join me?