A University of Texas psychology professor is apologizing to her students after including a question on a quiz that stated "wealthy white men" are "most likely to repeatedly violate the rights of others."
The quiz was a part of Professor Kirsten Bradbury’s Personality Psychology course and asked students which demographic is most likely to be diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder.
After stipulating the disease itself is "a racist diagnosis in the way that it has been applied," Bradbury’s quiz stated: "Neither race nor gender is determinative in Antisocial Personality Disorder. However, if we must go there, which sociodemographic group is most likely to repeatedly violate the rights of others in a pattern of behavior that includes violence, deceit, irresponsibility, and a lack of remorse?" The answer: wealthy white men.
After distributing the quiz to students, Bradbury, who has been celebrated as one of the university’s most outstanding teachers, then backtracked, telling students that "given the current rate of sociocultural and scientific change" the quiz had "grown too stale to use." She did not indicate what scientific changes had rendered the quiz obsolete or what scientific research had at one point served as the basis for the question.
Bradbury did not respond to a request for comment.
Bradbury was the recipient in 2017 of the University of Texas Board of Regents’s highest teaching honor, which comes with a $25,000 cash prize. Her biography on the university’s website indicates that her academic interests include "parenting stress," "firearms and firearm safety," and "firearm-related parenting."
The syllabus for her Personality Psychology course, University of Texas-Austin’s psychology 309, indicates that the class aims to teach students about the "normal and abnormal development of personality across the life span" and includes open-note quizzes and self-graded "experiential writing assignments" at the conclusion of which students assign themselves a "journaling grade."
It also includes a diversity statement voicing the department’s commitment to "a journey of inclusion and justice for all students from groups that are marginalized or minoritized." It goes on to state, "Our department is in the process of diversifying and creating identity safety for all students."
"In keeping with the department’s values, I am committed to creating a learning environment that is safe and supportive of the identities and perspectives of all marginalized and minoritized people," Bradbury wrote.