Confessions of a White Professor


This very nuanced reflection on race and its impact on faculty-student assumptions, communication, and effectiveness is sub-titled “How Ferguson, John Roberts, and an Anonymous Student Helped Me Understand Diversity in the Classroom.”

The author of the essay is Margaret Williamson, an Associate Professor Emerita of Classics and Associate Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College.

The essay is reprinted here with the permission of Margaret Williamson and of Pacific Standard, the magazine in which the essay was originally published [].


Amid the celebrations of Martin Luther King Day at colleges across the land, it was easy to forget that classroom diversity is still some way from being accepted as a universal good. In Fisher v. Texas, the Supreme Court case that could determine the future of affirmative action admissions policies at universities, Chief Justice John Roberts asked: “What unique perspective does a minority…

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