Virginia Tech instructor apologizes to students of color for being white

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Virginia Tech instructor apologizes to students of color for being white

An instructor at Virginia Tech apologized to students of color for being a white cisgender female — saying she didn’t “ask” for her privileged life.

Dr. Crystal Duncan Lane, who teaches in the public university’s Department of Human Development and Family Science, recently issued the unorthodox mea culpa in her Human Development 1134 syllabus, Campus Reform reported.

“I am a Caucasian cisgender female and first-generation college student from Appalachia who is of Scottish, British and Norwegian heritage,” Lane’s syllabus read, a screenshot shows.

“I am married to a cisgender male, and we are middle class. While I did not ‘ask’ for the many privileges in my life: I have benefitted from them and will continue to benefit from them whether I like it or not. This is injustice.

Lane vowed to work on a “daily basis to be antiracist” and confront the “innate racism” both within herself, citing the “reality and history” of white people in America.

“I want to be better: Every day,” Lane wrote. “I will transform: Every day. This work terrifies me: Every day. I invite my white students to join me on this journey. And to my students of color: I apologize for the inexcusable horrors within our shared history.”

Lane’s Virginia Tech faculty page was unavailable early Friday. Messages seeking comment from the instructor and Virginia Tech’s media relations office were not immediately returned.

Dr. Crystal Duncan Lane, who teaches in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, recently issued the apology in her syllabus.
Dr. Crystal Duncan Lane, who teaches in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, recently issued the apology in her syllabus.

A cached version of Lane’s faculty page identified her as an instructional faculty member in VT’s Department of Human Development and Family Science with principal areas of focus in family stress and resilience, as well as death, dying and bereavement. She earned a Ph.D. in human development from the university in Blacksburg, the cached page shows.

One student told Campus Reform she thought Lane should stick to the course material.

“It is a class about disabilities, not political opinion, affiliation, nor judgment of any sort,” VT student Natalie Rhodes said Monday. “If you are discussing disabilities, stick to your course.”

Another student who declined to be identified told the publication that Lane’s expressed beliefs were problematic.

“It hurts that someone says I was born with ‘innate racism’ because of my skin color,” the student told the outlet. “[It] makes me feel like I should hide and worry about everything I say.”

Some critics on social media, meanwhile, are calling for Lane to be fired.

“If she is the best teacher VT can find [then] they have no reason to exist as a university!” one tweet read. “What a disgrace this professor is.”

Another person said Lane’s “indoctrination” of students must be stopped immediately.

“Are you sending your children to school to be told they are racist or should apologize if they are white?” the man tweeted Thursday.

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