SAN DIEGO – Some people at San Diego State University were outraged after a class assignment directed students to create a “slave persona.”
Amari Jackson, a who said she is enrolled in an Africana Studies class at San Diego State University, posted a screenshot of the assignment on Instagram. The screenshot shows the assignment is to create a “slave persona” and asks students to include name, gender, age, the type of work they are expected to do, and says, “Be sure to address the event/circumstances surrounding your escape and process.”
The accompanying caption reads, “But hey, at least my professor canceled the in-class presentations where she wanted us to act and then dress in our personas.” Jackson noted the presentations were canceled because of time limitations.
The class, “Introduction to Africana Studies: Social and Behavioral Sciences,” is described by the university’s website as an “Interdisciplinary introduction of African American thought and behavior. Subject areas include social systems, economic empowerment, self development, family dynamics, use of power, cognitive styles, interethnic communication and international relations.”
The class is taught by Professor LaShae Collins, and school officials confirmed to KFMB that Collins had canceled the presentations portion of the assignment.
In a statement posted to Instagram, the Afrikan Student Union said, “Professor Collins is a well-respected faculty member who has served the SDSU community for many years. She has been at SDSU for 24 years and has worked in the Africana Studies department for the last 19 years. Professor Collins has worked in the area of Ethnic Studies curriculum development, legislation, etc., throughout her tenure. It is to be mentioned that the next day after the unfinished narratives were posted in news outlets, Professor Collins ensured the student was both heard and understood in her classroom. We as students know that Professor Collins would never do anything to harm students and is committed to ensuring that every student is heard and respected inside and outside the classroom. We have come to understand that the discipline of Africana Studies is built upon the community experience and healing around it … This unfortunate misunderstanding is being resolved within the Black community between students, faculty, and staff as a collective.”
“We need to learn about how we come together as a Black community, and how we handle when even someone who is Black in our community has harmed people in that community,” Tasha Williamson, a community activist, told KFMB.
Robbie Jackson, a student enrolled in the class, told the school’s student newspaper, The Daily Aztec, that the assignment “felt really insensitive” and he would not be turning it in. Two other students, who did not want to be identified, also told the newspaper that they would not be doing the assignment.
School officials did not tell KFMB whether students were still required to complete the assignment for a grade.
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