Teaching Assistant Docks Point on Conservative Student’s Black Panther Essay: ‘White People Cannot Experience Racism’

Alyssa Jones
by Addison Smith


A student at Virginia Tech University was told by a teaching assistant that “White people cannot experience racism” when asked why she received a low grade on her final paper.

Students in the Nations and Nationalities class at Virginia Tech were asked to complete a paper describing a hate group from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list, and analyze how that group justifies its worldview, according to Alyssa Jones, a student in the class.

Jones is also the president of the Virginia Tech University Turning Point USA chapter and a campus ambassador for The Leadership Institute, the parent organization of Campus Reform.

Jones told Campus Reform that she decided to pick “the New Black Panther Party with the focus of the essay being on separatism.” According to the SPLC, the NBPP has “encouraged violence against Whites, Jews and law enforcement officers.”

When Jones received back her paper, she was surprised by the grade she received and emailed Sabrina Harris, the graduate teaching assistant for the class, to ask why she was given this grade.

Harris responded by telling Jones that there were problems with her view of racism when it comes to White people.

“To begin, we discuss in lecture [sic] that racism is a systemic issue rooted power structures [sic] which have historically oppressed non-white peoples, as a result, white people cannot experience [sic] racism. While the NBPP discriminates and has prejudice against white people and Jewish people, it does not engage with racism as a system of oppression and subjugation, so conceptual clarity is key!” Harris wrote in an email to Jones, a copy of which Campus Reform obtained.

“To begin, we discuss in lecture that racism is a systemic issue rooted power structures which have historically oppressed non-white peoples, as a result, white people cannot experience racism,” Harris wrote in the email to Jones.

Jones promptly reached out to her professor, Edward Weisband, concerned that “Ms. Harris says that blacks cannot be racist against whites, and therefore lowered my grade due to the viewpoint discrepancy.”

The professor sided with Jones, responding that he agreed with her view of racism:

“I agree with you, as I understand your position, persons identified as ‘white’ certainly can be subjected to racism,” the professor told Jones, agreeing to reevaluate her grade.

Joey Ricco, a student at Virginia Tech, told Campus Reform that he no longer feels comfortable including “conservative sentiments” in his assignments, for fear of also receiving poor grades.

“My entire academic career I have been labeled nazi and racist for expressing conservative beliefs. I have learned to no longer include conservative sentiment in school assignments as my grades have suffered in the past due to myself showing support for the second amendment in a research paper,” Ricco said.

A spokesperson for the university declined to comment, citing that, due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, “the university cannot comment on topics related to specific instances or events related to an individual student’s record.”

Sabrina Harris did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.

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Addison Smith is a Campus Reform video reporter and a senior, studying Business Marketing at Liberty University. Addison was previously a Campus Reform Senior Correspondent.

Photo “Alyssa Jones” from Facebook and “Burruss Hall, Virginia Tech” CC 3.0.








Appeared at and reprinted from campusreform.org

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9 Thoughts to “Teaching Assistant Docks Point on Conservative Student’s Black Panther Essay: ‘White People Cannot Experience Racism’”

  1. John Young

    Go to Guam and see how you’re treated

  2. Tim Price

    When I was in college, they call the teacher assistants Graduate Assistants shortened to Grad Asses due to most of them being asses.

    Loos like Grad Ass fits this liberal idiot!

  3. Truth Speaker

    Typical example of White people pretending to be victims once a Black counter-movement reacts to the racist vitriol and oppression that THEY themselves have perpetuated against Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans for well over 400 years. You can’t just rape, rob, murder, lynch, castrate, and oppress people and NOT expect them to fight back against their oppressors in like manner.

    White people: *rapes, robs, murders, lies, and manipulates history and performs iconoclasm so that they are viewed favorably in history even when its a lie*

    Blacks, Latinos and Natives : “Enough is enough, we’re fighting back against this oppression!”

    White people: “Oh my god how could they? You guys are racist, seperatist, extremists for figthing back against the racism we’re perpetuating against you!”

    Trust me, white people haven’t faced racism, only discrimination. Racism would be us shooting, lynching, raping your mothers, denying you job opportunities because I simply don’t like your white sounding name Jim or Bob, or delibereately placing you and your loved ones in ghettos, slums, barrios, and reservations: taking out any manufacturing jobs and outsourcing them, giving you the worst education possible with little to economic development in the community, and then funnelling drugs and guns into your community so I would have a justifiable cause to arrest you and place in you in prison to become a new slave under penal labor laws under the 13th amendment. That’s racism.

    1. Not your truth

      Please describe the oppression that YOU face that you “fight back against”.

      If you look back 400 years… unless you’re from old money and privilege, we’ve all suffered. Drafted into wars not ours with no choice but to kill or be killed. Enslaved (yes white people have been enslaved). Mothers raped by people of color. Homes burned up in fires. Turned away from jobs for affirmative action or simply because a dark skinned foreigner will do it cheaper.

      Most of these problems have something in common you’d be wise to recognize. Money and power. Race is irrelevant. Being white grants you no additional rights or powers and being black doesn’t take any away. While most of the powerful ARE white, given the opportunity, they’d enslave white people as well as anyone else.

    2. Deborah Lawson

      Your brain washed mental midget opinion is one of the most ridiculous things I have read in years.

  4. Daniel Martinez

    I would say 75% of people on Earth have felt racism in their lives no matter what colour you are Some races have felt more blatant than others And Where it comes from is you think you better than another colour Or race

  5. Henry

    Here is my 2 cents without getting into the more serious issue of adverse environment in many college or schools campuses against people with conservative, or even just pro America views.
    1. Reading and grading paper should be done by the professors themselves, not the TAs as reading papers and grading them are part of the teaching process. TAs can help, but not replace professors. This TA here is not an educator, but a political activist who lacks the minimum knowledge about teaching, esp in such controversial and politically charged subjects. She should be fired unless, of course, she is protected by AA or unions.
    2. Social and political views should not be graded on, only the quality of writing, including how well the student’s own views are presented. It is the writing, not the views that should be graded on.
    Here was my own experience: In a graduate educational admin program, I was the only student with a conservative view in the 7 students and 1 professor class, yet I was also the only one who had ever lived in a lefties controlled country. The professor was the head of the Graduate Program and was originally from the Great Lakes area. In classes, I often debated forcefully to express my own conservative leaning views about education, sometimes, it went so heated that I could see tears from my orofessor’s eyes out of excitement and probably also frustration. What impressed me the most was, which can be an exact opposite example against this case, that on one of my papers, he commented that, while he disagree with my view points completely, he liked my writing, thus he gave me an A. If this political activist were the TA who graded my paper, I would likely have got an F as she obviously graded not on the writing that the students were supposed to be evaluated, but as a representative of Nancy Parisi or AOC in a classroom. Also, why this professor delicate grading to the TA while my own professors at 2 Masters programs all graded by themselves?

  6. J. McCormack

    Grad student Sabrina Harris’ expertise on racism may be questionable but her deficiency in the area of basic grammar is not.

  7. Raypal

    She needs to ask whites in South Africa whose lands and farms have bee appropriated by blacks!