RCC course diagram stirs controversy on social media

MEDFORD, Ore.– UPDATE: A diagram, handed out in college course, labeling the president’s slogan, “Make American Great Again” as hate speech is at the center of controversy.

It’s a picture that has ignited a slew of comments about college education in the area and the topic of hate speech but according to Rogue Community College, the diagram was taken out of context.

The phrase, “Make America Great Again” has garnered strong opinions from opposite sides and now RCC is caught in the middle.

“That’s the goal of education, especially the college,” said Grant Walker, marketing director for RCC. “It should lead to healthy classroom discussion.”

The RCC course, Writing 122, focuses on research papers.

“Students are asked to look at a lot of different kinds of information and build their own topics and do their own research,” said Walker.

This term, the class is focusing on neoliberalism. That theme is what brought out a multitude of articles with one containing a diagram outlining a so-called, “Hierarchy of Racism.”

The graphic then divided a pyramid into two parts, Overt White Supremacy and Covert White Supremacy. The latter, showing President Trump’s slogan as one of the many forms of socially acceptable hate speech.

The image was shared on social media creating plenty of concern.

“This graphic in question, in the class that it was presented in – it’s all part of growing as an individual,” said Walker. “It’s no surprise that it sparked some controversy and discussion. That’s the goal of education.”

Many people commented and shared the post, opposing the schools use of the diagram. RCC says it’s part of an article developed by an outside researcher and “not an official position of the college.”

RCC says the page, shown by itself, is out of context.

“The idea is to challenge people’s perceptions and maybe preconceptions and discuss those and do their own research to find out, is this true or not,” said Walker.

Now even students outside the class are weighing in.

“It’s not mutually exclusive to that term,” said Emmalee Rusk, a history and psychology major. “So white supremacy and ‘Make America Great Again’ don’t go together all the time. It all depends on your subjective opinion of the matter, of politics and of Trump.”

That perspective and discussion is exactly what administrators at the college want to cultivate.

“Everyone is here to learn and develop and develop their critical thinking skills and become better people,” said Walker. “And they may be challenged in that process but it helps everybody.”

The diagram has faced similar criticism before when other educators have introduced the diagram to their class.

*A previous version ran that writer, Lawrence Ross, was the creator of the diagram. That is not the case. He has only used it in his lectures 


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