Why Do You Want to Be Offended?

Spoiler alert, this is gonna be a rant. In case that was a reason for you stop reading, you have been warned.

There is a boy in my International Law class who we will call “Eyebrows” for today’s purposes. Eyebrows kind of has sad looking eyes accompanied by a voice that always sounds like he’s trying to tell you he just ran over your dog. It’s sad to the point where it kind of gives me anxiety whenever he talks. Beyond that, he does some really annoying things. First of all, he is consistently late to class, which like fine, not my problem, but it’s a little annoying. What my main issue with him is the fact that he is always trying to make the professor say something offensive. This is wildly irritating.

Eyebrows is I believe, African-American, at least half, if not full. That’s not necessarily relative to my point, but it might be. Our professor is a white guy, which is also not necessarily relevant, but kind of important. Now we all know I’m not someone who is easily offended by things, but our professor, in my opinion, has never said anything offensive to anyone or any group of people in the class. Sure he jokes about Texas being ridiculous, but who doesn’t agree with that? He is a lawyer, and he is teaching a law class, so naturally the subject of politics kind of comes up sometimes, but again the professor never really states his political views or tries to force them on us, or anything of the sorts. He states facts, like any lawyer or professor should. Eyebrows, I think wants him to say something offensive, I guess.

On any given day, a current event could come into our discussion of International Law, but it’s not really the focus of the class. However, if there is ever an opportunity to raise the question of law’s application to current events, Eyebrows will swoop in to raise this question, in a leading, and irrelevant way. It’s hard to describe, but that’s partially because these questions come literally out of nowhere and Eyebrows, I really think just wants the professor to say something racist, when there is no prior evidence that he is anywhere near racist. One time, I don’t even remember what the professor was talking about, but he must have just said the word “police,” and Eyebrows’s hand shot up, and he says, “Well what about FERGUSON?” in this accusing tone. The professor kind of looks at him like, what about Ferguson? It had nothing to do with the topic at hand. Nothing. Like Eyebrows, what are you trying to accomplish? What is your agenda? I don’t get it.

Another instance, we were merely discussing how to form an argument, and the professor brought up the Trayvon Martin shooting as an example, because it’s something everybody pretty much knows about. Big mistake. He asks the class for a volunteer to give a two-sentence summary of what happened. Who else, but Eyebrows to give this summary? Eyebrows has his hand up immediately, and begins, “Well, a black, um, African-American kid was walking down the street, buying some Skittles, and he was wearing a hoodie, and whats-his-name felt like he was in danger, so he shot him in the face.” In his defense, sure that was under two sentences, but all the detail was unnecessary. We know it was a race issue, but we just want to know how to form an argument. Not your argument for racism, whatever that may be, just any argument.

Finally, today’s instance, which put me over the edge. We were talking about the Supreme Court for most of the class. One case in particular, then we just kind of derailed into a conversation about how the Court works, how justices are appointed, etc. Just an informal, informational conversation, and Eyebrows had to get involved. We’re on the subject of appointing justices, and whether or not they should be voted in, if it’s a political thing, and what have you. Eyebrows raises his hand and says, defensively, “Well what do you think about Obama appointing Sotomayor?” The professor and I both, I think, are dumbfounded. What kind of question is that? The professor says, “I mean, I think she’s doing a good job. I don’t feel in any way particular about her. She’s a good judge. She was good in the Second Circuit. What about her?” Eyebrows demands an opinion: “Don’t you think it was political?” The professor I can tell is facepalming in his head. “I mean, it’s all political, but she’s a good judge.” Eyebrows finally sits back.

What are you doing, Eyebrows? What are your motives? This man is teaching a class. Nothing has even been that controversial, and even if it was, he would state facts like he has all semester. I just don’t get it. I know Eyebrows doesn’t speak for all people of color (thank God), but why are you trying to make it seem like every white person is out to get you? I know it is so often true, but like, this man has nothing to you, or even said anything that could possibly offend you, unless you’re literally offended by facts. And again, nothing we have discussed in class has been a really “controversial” argument. The Nuremberg trials for Christ’s sake! Paquete Habana! We don’t talk about Ferguson because it’s irrelevant to this class! We don’t talk about George Zimmerman, because it’s irrelevant to this class! Nothing you say is relevant to this class, Eyebrows! Please, just stop.

xoxo
Kam