Red Ice News

The Future is the Past

White, Male Students Called on Last in Some Classrooms
New to Red Ice? Start Here!

White, Male Students Called on Last in Some Classrooms

Source: thecollegefix.com

‘Progressive stacking’ not new, not isolated to Penn

The backlash may be new, but the method is not. Controversy erupted recently after tweets from an Ivy League teaching assistant showed her admitting she only calls on white male students as a last resort.

“I will always call on my black women students first. Other [people of color] get second tier priority. [White women] come next. And, if I have to, white men,” University of Pennsylvania teaching assistant Stephanie McKellop tweeted in October.

McKellop’s tweets spotlight a method known as the “progressive stack” in which speaking priority is given to minority voices while those deemed as having privilege must wait their turn.

McKellop’s comments ignited a firestorm over the controversial teaching method and prompted her university to look into the situation, but a College Fix review of online documentation shows McKellop is far from the first instructor to employ the “progressive stack” in the classroom.

Use of the progressive stack, which is lauded by advocates as amplifying oppressed voices and criticized by others as discriminatory, has been used in college classrooms for years, and has roots in liberal activism.

The College Fix review found several instances in which scholars have engaged in the practice. Additionally, a sociology professor told Inside Higher Ed progressive stacking dates back at least a couple decades.

In an email to The College Fix, University of New Mexico psychology professor Geoffrey Miller denounced the “progressive stack” method and said it will further alienate universities from their stakeholders.

“It’s obvious that universities feel deeply embarrassed when whistle-blowers publicize that progressive stacking is being used in their classrooms; they know that parents, alumni, legislators, and taxpayers can see how discriminatory it is, and will withdraw financial support if it continues,” Miller said.

The method has been met with resistance by students as well. It drew complaints in one college course because students felt it “silenced straight white male students on the basis of their identities,” according to an article published by the course’s instructors.

According to the conservative website Legal Insurrection, the tactic traces back at least to the well-known Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

“It has been a core part of progressive and academic organizing at least since the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011,” the website states.

A 2011 article from the liberal magazine The Nation highlighted how Occupy Wall Street protesters used progressive stacking as a means to allow those from “traditionally marginalized groups” to speak at events.

“In other words: women and minorities get to go to the front of the line,” the article explains.

The use of the “progressive stack” in Occupy Wall Street appears to have fueled its use on campus in a few of the cases identified by The Fix.

In a 2014 essay published online, then-UC Berkeley Ph.D candidate Genevieve Painter explained how the Occupy Wall Street movement taught her “how to occupy my own classroom” and explains how she and her colleagues “brought techniques from the movement” into a course.

One of those techniques included the “progressive stack” method, which Painter mentions was used by a professor she assisted in a legal theory course to moderate discussion. Painter inferred that white male students were actually called on first since they were a minority in the class.

“Afterwards, we discussed how students felt – particularly given that, in a classroom populated largely by women, the progressive stack entailed giving speaking priority to the white men in the room,” she wrote.

Painter did not respond to a request seeking comment.

In a 2013 article published in the journal “Radical Teacher,” a cohort of instructors who taught an “Occupy Wall Street-inspired” course admit to using the progressive stack in the class.

In their article, the professors explain they moderated discussion in their “#occupyyoureducation” course by “calling on those who had not spoken (or rarely spoke), women, queer-identified students, and students of color before we called on regular talkers, white, straight, and/or male students.”

However, the method was met with criticism from some students who complained progressive stacking muzzled white men in the class. In their article, the instructors said the complaints led to a meeting with their department chair and that they “took this opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about the class.”

Two of the course’s instructors, who now teach at different universities, did not respond to emails from The College Fix regarding their use of the progressive stack method.

“Most academics strive to maintain an environment where everyone can speak as opposed to stack participation to address social patterns or bias. Each student must be treated equally — not de-prioritized due to his association with a racial or gender group,” writes famed law professor Jonathan Turley. “While there are an array of social ills outside of the classroom, we maintain an equality of thought and status as a basic component of high education. Moreover, our students come to our schools to be treated equally — not to find themselves the ongoing social experiment of people like McKellop.”

 

Comments

We're Hiring

We are looking for a professional video editor, animator and graphics expert that can join us full time to work on our video productions.

Apply

Help Out

Sign up for a membership to support Red Ice. If you want to help advance our efforts further, please:

Donate

Tips

Send us a news tip or a
Guest suggestion

Send Tip

Related News

BBC Fires Award-Winning White Male Comedian for Being White and Male
BBC Fires Award-Winning White Male Comedian for Being White and Male
Yale ‘Decolonizes’ English Dept. After Complaints Studying White Authors ‘Actively Harms’ Students
Yale ‘Decolonizes’ English Dept. After Complaints Studying White Authors ‘Actively Harms’ Students

Archives Pick

Red Ice T-Shirts

Red Ice Radio

3Fourteen

How Right Wing Is Japan Today?
Yoko Mada - How Right Wing Is Japan Today?
European Cooking & Philosophy
Elisabeth - European Cooking & Philosophy

TV

How Cult Leader Charles Manson Was Made
Jay Dyer - How Cult Leader Charles Manson Was Made
What’s Really Happening in Saudi Arabia?
Patrick Le Brun - What’s Really Happening in Saudi Arabia?

RSSYoutubeGoogle+iTunesSoundCloudStitcherTuneIn

Design by Henrik Palmgren © Red Ice Privacy Policy