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Black Woman Professor Reprimanded for Teaching White Students About Structural Racism

12/4/2013, 11:24 a.m.
Professor Shannon Gibney

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - A lesson in structural racism turns into a point of contention, as Minneapolis Community and Technical College reprimanded Shannon Gibney, a black woman professor at the school, per For Harriet.

The incident occurred during Gibney's Introduction to Mass Communication course. As she proceeded to explain aspects of structural racism, specifically "whiteness as a system of oppression," two white male students interrupted, complaining.

Gibney, then, informed the students to file a formal complaint to the institution. That formal complaint subsequently led to the following message, from the administration, sent to Gibney.

Shannon, I find it troubling that the manner in which you led a discussion on the very important topic of structural racism alienated two students who may have been in most need of learning about the subject. While I believe it was your intention to discuss structural racism generally, it was inappropriate for you to single out white male students in class. Your actions in targeting select students based on their race and gender caused them embarrassment and created a hostile learning environment. For that reason, I have determined that a reprimand is warranted.

Minneapolis Community and Technical College's reprimanding of Gibney has led other professors at the school to join her in a federal class action lawsuit against the institution, which alleges that the school is discriminatory.