A San Diego State University professor has said that he developed a Black Lives Matter-inspired graduate education course because "nearly all educators are racist."
J. Luke Wood told student paper the Daily Aztec, "[Educators] are not overtly white supremacists but they harbor perceptions of black males that are informed by what they have seen in wider society through the media, news, in books and in film. They engage black males from a point of stereotypes, microaggressions, and bias."
His course, "Black Minds Matter: A Focus on Black Boys and Men in Education," will tell future educators to use the classroom as a place of "civil resistance against racism" and to develop new pedagogical practices inspired by the "intentional application Black Lives Matter principles of loving engagement, restorative justice, and collective value."
Wood told the Daily Aztec that black men and boys are either perceived as academically inferior or "criminalized" in the classroom. Subsequently, he said, the demographic is "exposed to exclusionary discipline or put in special education as a dumping ground for them, which really only does one thing well, and it's to socialize people to go into the prison-industrial complex."
J. Luke Wood wrote in an email to the Washington Free Beacon, "I would like to note that the quote ‘nearly all educators are racist' was significantly decontextualized. The quote derived from a conversation about institutional racism. Noting that as individuals within systems that are racist that we are therefore influenced by those systems. I believe that the vast majority of educators are good people who want to do the right thing but fail to do so because they are influenced by these systems."
The course will feature speakers like Black Life Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and Ilyasah Shabazz, the activist daughter of Malcolm X. It will be taught in person to approximately 30 students and available via livestream for some 10,000 participants.
The course has garnered criticism from the campus community and beyond.
Brandon Jones, president of the SDSU College Republicans, has called on the university to "distance itself" from the course.
"Taxpayer money must not be used to fund political campaigns of any kind, especially those associated with Black Lives Matter," he said, adding that the class will "teach students to become victims instead of preparing them to become contributing members of society."
Craig DeLuz, a trustee of the Robla Elementary School District and legislative advocate for the Fredrick Douglass Foundation, has been pressuring the school to cancel the course before its scheduled Oct. 23 start sate.
DeLuz, who is black, has said he is primarily concerned by the association with Black Lives Matter, a "movement whose members have promoted segregation and violence against law enforcement."
Wood, who in addition to teaching at SDSU's education college serves as director of the school's joint doctoral education program with Claremont College, said he "anticipated that there would be some people who were not happy with the course, because whenever you speak love into a system of hate, there is a visceral reaction."
Update 12:10 p.m.: This post has been updated with comment from J. Luke Wood.