I couldn’t believe my ears.

Surely this primitive professor, illuminated by the projector and ancient philosophy, has forgotten himself. Surely no self-respecting professional academic would dare to teach his students the very material which assailed my unsuspecting eardrums. Surely there is a university policy against this.

I left the class dazed. Caught off guard. Unsettled.

I returned two days later, believing the first lecture to be a fluke, only to receive the same treatment.

My kind reader, I have now passed weeks in this classroom. Weeks with no mention of social justice, structural racism, or climate activism. Weeks without a single nod to the supremacy of Marx, the righteous destruction of the nuclear family, or the evils of Judeo-Christian values.

In fact, this professor seems hellbent on teaching pure, undefiled history.

Each lesson delves into deep analysis of writings from Plato to Aristotle to Cicero to Petrarch. Each philosopher is granted historical context, our most charitable consideration, and serious discussion.

In fact, this class has been entirely unpredictable, precisely because its material has stuck strictly to the syllabus.

Here, in my last quarter of undergraduate courses, I sit under the tutelage of a rare species, the antithesis of a progressive professor, the primitive professor.

Perhaps it is the language barrier that prevents him from getting with the program, British English really isn’t the same. Or perhaps, by a mixture of clever maneuvering and sheer luck, he has snuck through the cracks in the machine like a mite in a factory, and the gears have yet to crush him.

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If there is any hope at all for him to be transformed into the progressive monstrosity that is all the fashion among collegiate professionals, he is in dire need of some prodding.

I could direct him toward my masked professor who turned his class on environmental health into an anarchist seminar. As a leading environmental advisor for the city of Los Angeles, he taught me how to expertly drain the Constitution of all of its meaning with a few policies stuffed under the Commerce Clause. And because there was time at the end of class, together we brainstormed how to dismantle the traditional family with economic pressure that discouraged suburban living.

Or maybe he could take a leaf out of my ecology professor’s notebook where she hopscotched her way from warming weather to the inherent racism of the American heart in one sly syllogism.

Maybe we start small and introduce him to my genetics professor, who apologized for referring to male and female birds after not so gentle correction from a student. Instead, we learned it was the XY-chromosomed individual who impregnated the XX-chromosomed individual.

But if this primitive professor cannot understand these thoroughly scientific trains of thought, I could direct him instead toward my experiences in the humanities.

One English class demonstrated the “white Jesus” complex through the missionary character in Jane Eyre. Obviously, this man of God was spreading unadulterated European values, with no religious intentions.

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Or maybe the classics professor teaching on “Race and Ethnicity in Ancient Greece,” who called Odysseus racist (shocker, I know) for marginalizing the Cyclopes people, just because they looked different than him. I tried to explain they had to look different than him since they were looking through one eye instead of two. Not so shockingly, I was reminded that racism is no laughing matter.

Perchance the day arrives when this primitive professor realizes the error in his ways, his knees hitting the ground and a fist in the air. Until then, we dare to learn the material he teaches.

Until then, our minds are challenged, and our souls shaped. Until then, I have to actually study because the answer to questions regarding evil in this class is never “Capitalism and Whites.” Until then, I must sharpen my rhetoric and critical thinking. Until then, I must joust with Socrates and refute his socialist Republic. Until then, I must learn the philosophy which shaped the enlightened minds of the Founding Fathers. Until then, I must grow in wisdom and understanding.

This primitive professor has been thrown a softball. A class syllabus teeming with straight white Christian males. Yet, he refuses to step up to the plate.

Just to spite my very last quarter, he set all games aside and is actually teaching a solid lesson. 

Catie Robertson is an intern with the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Government.