[ View the story "Native American student allegedly kicked out of class over 'genocide' dispute" on Storify] Native American student allegedly kicked out of class over 'genocide' dispute Student clashed with history professor when it came to describing the Native American experience.
The Stream· Mon, Sep 07 2015 17:51:48
“The whole thing started on Wednesday,” Johnson told ICTMN. “He was talking about Native America and he said the word genocide. He paused and said ‘I don't like to use that word because I think it is too strong for what happened’ and ‘genocide implies that it was on purpose and most native people were wiped out by European diseases.'"indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com
“To be kicked out of the classroom so quickly, I was floored and I thought, 'Are you kidding me? This was the third day of class, and already you're going to completely expel me?' I didn't call him names, I did not say he was racist, I did not use foul language - yes, I raised my voice because he raised his voice at me and was talking over me and wouldn't let me say anything. I felt like I had my feet completely kicked out from under me. I felt like I approached the situation in a way that a student of the university level is supposed to approach a disagreement with the professor.”indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com
Many online criticised the professor:
#MauryWiseman listen... #nativeGenocideHappened your desire to "ignore" that part of history doesn't mean it never occurredBeautifully Black
#MauryWiseman When u try to rewrite history ur belittling the struggles of all the Indigenous ppls who suffered to protect their way of lifeBad Juju
Are we really that surprised? They still have "Land Run Re-enactments" with the glee of carnivals in Oklahoma. ##MauryWisemanBilly Keene
Others spoke against Johnson's reported ejection;
There is a respectable way for students to disagree and foster discourse with professors. Too bad #maurywiseman doesn't see that.Shelley Bointy
Good teachers should be happy when students are using critical thinking and challenging things. Native students are silenced and expelledDani
Some reached out to Johnson directly on Twitter to show their support.
@chiitaani You did the right thing. You are not in the wrong, my family is proud of you. Thank you for standing up. Things will work out.alex hamer
@chiitaani Our ancestors would be proud of what you did, never let anybody silence your voice! #NativeGenocideHappenedEmmy Scott
In a statement, the university denied the claim that Johnson was disenrolled from the course.
Some discussed whether the professor's reaction was appropriate:
“If you’re impeding other students’ learning, you should be removed,” said student Stefany Ensor.sacramento.cbslocal.com
Reading the original article I can see how, in an unpremeditated off-the-cuff comment, a relatively new professor might express reservations about the use of the term genocide; there are ways in which this is perhaps a less obvious instance of genocide, mainly because it is intermittent and is conducted by different political groups for different reasons at different points in history. But this is only the perspective of the perpetrator. It should only have taken a moment's reflection before he backed down. As a teacher myself, I know that the ability to admit a mistake is vital.Thor Ewing
Others wanted to know more about what exactly transpired:
I don;t think that she just made it up, but surely there are going to be different versions of the narrative. Yeah, I imagine that he said that he doesn't use the term "genocide" to describe these events. That term was coined in 1944. Wiseman has training in Jewish Studies and may well know a lot about scholarship on genocide (I do not know). But for a teacher to offer the opinion that the term "genocide" does not apply, as an opinion, is in no way diminishing the history. [I have no real opinion on the point, but lots of people connect genocide with modern nation states etc.) If she essentially said that he is being a racist by not using "genocide," then the story looks a bit different.Meanwhile, she said that she was removed from the course. The University says she was not removed from the course. I have never heard any faculty member claim to have that authority. Did he TELL her she was kicked out of the course, or was that some misunderstanding? No idea.Matt Gallman
I'll be looking for the results of the investigation. I hope there is some transperancy in this situation. SMH.David Cavallero
The Stream reached out to Professor Wiseman regarding the incident, but has not received any comment yet.