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Ty Schwoeffermann: Too Much Whitey on this Campus

Much as I loathe to bring attention to anything Ty Schwoeffermann writes, especially since I regard him as a racist hack*, it is hard to ignore his excruciatingly shrill guest commentary in today’s Ol’ Dirty.

Schwoeffermann starts out in typical style with an opening sentence filled with glaring factual errors and legal inaccuracies:

When the Brown v. Board of Education verdict forced public schools to desegregate on May 17, 1954, the national conscious officially reconciled the half decade of Jim Crow laws.

A “half decade” of Jim Crow laws? If Schwoeffermann is trying to make the point that we need more African-American history classes using himself as an example, well then, I guess he’s doing a bang-up job right off the bat.

Before abolition, people of color were forced to fight against white supremacy. Today, the struggle has changed; we still fight against white supremacy, but now we want equal academic opportunity. Such as the opportunity to study of fields of interests in a public institution.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Is Schwoeffermann equating the perceived lack of ethnic diversity in academia to more than 200 years of slavery? Oh yeah, I guess he is. Subtle.

People of color cannot relate to teachers at a Eurocentric university because they view history and politics completely differently.

Wow, speak for yourself Ty. I’ve taken a few classes on Asian history taught by Caucasian professors and found that I could relate to them because: 1. They are nice, intelligent human beings; and 2. I’m an open-minded person who can accept and interpret information relayed to me by an individual who may or may not be of the same gender identity and/or ethnic background.

Academics disagree about the interconnection of imperialism, slavery, nationalism, capitalism and democracy. Academia has heavily rejected alternative narratives that inspire resistance and revolution.

Has Schwoeffermann ever taken a class in history at this school? You cannot go a term taking a history class without being hit upside the head with stories on violent and peaceful resistance, revolution and dissent. For example, this past fall term I was assigned to read noted journalist and Communist activist John Reed’s “Insurgent Mexico,” which followed the exploits of Pancho Villa and his revolutionary army. Even my International Communication class through the J-school spent a considerable amount of time on pirate radio in South America. I’m also pretty sure that academia has not rejected the narratives of the French, Russian and the numerous Chinese revolutions.

It is the responsibility of flagship institutions to allow opportunities for people of color to work in the academic arena… A teacher of color will help white students see that people of color can in fact reach the top of academia.

To quote Olly from an e-mail conversation earlier today in response to the above excerpt (and which I am counting on his generosity to include in this blog post):
Wonderful. Hire people based on their skin colour in order to demonstrate that they can reach ‘the top of academia’. What’s wrong with this picture?

And the last word from Schwoeffermann:

Our school seriously lacks diversity in its faculty and in its academic subject matter. More teachers of color will help replace the culture of whiteness at this university.

Ty, do you know what would help replace the “culture of whiteness” at this university? If you actually took a moment to do your reading and pay attention in any one of the numerous classes available through the Department of History.

*Since it’s in vogue to throw around allegations of racism these days, I may as well join in.

  1. T says:

    I’m gonna have to take a lot of drinks now.

  2. ASUO Insider says:

    1. Saying

  3. Danimal says:

    “I do not think there is anything wrong with saying “white students” or “white people,” because when I say it I do not mean their pale skin, but because white people are the majority in this country.”


  4. Miles says:

    That was awesome.

  5. de lancie says:


  6. Oh My God It's Full Of Stars says:

    It’s righting like this that makes me ask myself the tough questions, like why does my girlfriend’s penis bleed once a month?

  7. Anthony says:

    wow this ty kid is an idiot.

  8. Betz says:

    Richard: Agreed. The problem that I have with most of Ty’s writing is that he defines diversity as something that is only skin (color) deep, and not their character.

  9. Richard says:

    Sometimes I wonder if Ty writes about controversial topics simply to spark a dialog about race and diversity. Although his “Jungle Fever” commentary was ridiculous, his columns at least get us talking. I’d much rather read one of Ty’s pieces than Lucas Pollack’s exposition on fad diets and “sharting.”

    Still, Ty must know that the UO offers minors in African Studies and Latin American Studies, whereas European Studies is only a certificate. He must know that we have a fully staffed department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (whereas Russian and Eastern European studies draw upon faculty members from other departments). I’m sure Ty read the recent Emerald article that explained how the College of Arts and Sciences offers languages based on student interest, not Eurocentrism.

    Simply, his argument that the UO favors European Studies break down.

    If anything, we should be proud to go to a school with diverse course offerings.

  10. Blaser says:

    My favorite is, “I am not free to study what I want”. It’s called independent study, Ty. You sign up for it, get a faculty adviser, and together you set your curriculum.

    I think that many students at the U of O are left with much to be desired when it comes to course selection, but one cannot overstate the importance of self-responsibility and direction in this regard, as no one should rely on the university to be their one and only advocate, as Ty is asking here. Opportunities are made by the individual, and not handed out like Red Bull or shitty new brands of soda on thirteenth to anyone walking by. For God’s sake, take some responsibility for your own education!

  11. Wow says:

    Ty’s thoughts don’t represent all students of color. Let’s just remember that folks!

    I am a student of color and am disgusted by articles that do MORE to perpetuate racism than anything a white person has ever done to me. It’s all about perception. If you want to keep pretending to be victimized, then you will always be victimized, Ty. Time for some cheesy adages: attitude is everything!

  12. Niedermeyer says:

    “Academics disagree about the interconnection of imperialism, slavery, nationalism, capitalism and democracy. Academia has heavily rejected alternative narratives that inspire resistance and revolution.”

    This is by far my favorite part. Seriously, where are these “alternate narratives” taken any more seriously than in Academia? In fact, I’d argue the opposite, that Academia is so mired in precisely the kind of critiques that Schwoeffermann is talking about, that it has lost most of it’s intellectual edge.

    Ty, the tragedy here is that there are very good arguments for a strong multicultural component in a modern education, but you are not only ignoring them, you are making people less likely to listen to them. Remember this: critique is valuable, but if you aren’t offering an alternative, all it’s good for is guilt. The only alternative you offer is to make more decision based on skin color. This is what I mean by losing intellectual edge.

  13. Chris says:

    Way to totally deconstruct that alternative narrative, Sho!

    I hope that no one in the administration reads this blog, though, or you might get expelled for your revolutionary critical-thinking skills!

  14. Betz says:

    As much as I enjoyed the overall theme of Ty equating skin color to diversity (as if two people of the same skin color are identical because, hey…they all look alike),
    My favorite part:

    “…I am questioned ‘why are you here?’ Most white students ask me this because they have never experienced people of color succeeding…”

    This is a surprisingly arrogant and contemptuous tone for Ty, whose racial self-loathe and pity have enveloped most of his writing style. This is definatly more upbeat than previous ‘Schwoefferisms’. Good for him!

  15. Miles says:

    Ty is the ultimate Douchebag. Nuff Said.

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