Dr Zuleyka Zevallos Profile picture
Jul 22, 2018 18 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Let's talk about the racism by "Vieno Vehko," pseudonymous assistant prof from a USA Midwestern university. This article is not simply about "millennials." It is about Whiteness & how White academics expect to teach students like themselves

The piece is racially loaded in a way White academics & students have missed in their critiques. The author explicitly takes swipe at young people- but not equally.She begins with skewering Susie for not looking up 'lexical' in the dictionary. #POC can pick up that Susie is White screengrab of article from
The fact that "Vehko" doesn't use racial/ cultural words to describe Susie is the first clue that, not only is Susie White, but Vehko is too. As you'll see in this thread, White people only remark on the race for #POC. But Vehko is also policing Susie's White femininity.
Susie irks Vehko for being "entitled" but also for "elaborately made-up brown eyes." Here's a norm of femininity in academia & how we know Vehko is a WW: anyone wearing make up or 'non-conforming' clothes is breaking gender norms. Susie is White & wears makeup which Vehko resents
Regardless of what we do, #POC's 'presentation of self' is policed. See Louis, 'a handsome young black man in his mid-20s,' who wears 'a black bandanna and leather jacket.' He is 'sweet, soft spoken' & wants to work with 'inner-city schools.' All Whitespeak for: he's Very Black screen grab from article from 'students suffer in this system to. Take Loius...' to '...owing to visa' See link below
What is Louis doing in this White woman's classroom, Vehko wants to know? While White Susie is entitled & is presumed to spend hours on Netflix & social media, Black Louis is failing because he has to work fulltime. MANY students have to work to survive, but #POC often struggle
Class & race intersect: Vehko, who you'll see identifies as an older (White) woman, is incensed that a Black man would work fulltime rather than focus on studies. This bias reflects White privilege: Vehko could focus on study b/c that's life as a middle class White woman
Louis is also sexualised in a way none of the other students are in this op ed ('handsome Black man') and otherised, in classic Whiteness tactic. He's not a threat to Vehko's whiteness because he's soft spoken.
Yusef 'a Saudi man' in his 30s with a wife & kids - mentioned to evoke his *backwardness.* He must be cheating. 'In his culture, charm & small chunks of work are enough to gain a degree.' This racist stereotype is ludicrous but Vehko pretends to care about international students screen grab from 'Then there is Yusef...' to 'gain a degree.' read link to original at the end of my thread
Stephen was presumed the ideal student until he got rude: 'initially someone I looked forward to teaching...he was literate, upper middle class, white, male and studious.' Stephen's whiteness only becomes remarkable because he exerted his male privilege over Vehko, a White woman screen grab from 'Then there is Stephen...' to '... office hours.' see link to article at the end of my thread
This is a classic way in which White women participate in White supremacy: White men are their aspirational equal until they enact patriarchy. This is a perfect illustration of why Peggy McIntosh theorised white privilege (her work below) - which was specifically about academia. screen grab of 'The Invisible Knapsack' by Peggy McIntosh: 'Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of white privilege that was similarly denied and protected....think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege'
As the seemingly perfect White specimen let her down (the White man Stephen), Vehko shows her truest colour in her exultation of Linda. Linda is in her 50s & embodies the perfect student because she is Vehko: 'I wonder if we share a kind of generationally kindred brain.' screen grab from article from 'Another reason for this is Linda...' to '...confused with my course and me.' read link to article at the end of my thread
Linda's race us not mentioned but #POC don't need it to be. Vehko sees herself in Linda, who is not tech savvy but, unlike other 'millennials,' Vehko says Linda is not 'angry, frustrated and confused with my course and with me.'

Never mind Vehko's article is about her own anger
Academics reproduce Whiteness in many ways. For White academics & students sharing this because they agree with Vehko, same as for White academics & students sharing this (rightly) put off by poor attitudes towards students, neither group has thought about what this does to #POC
Some White people are going to great pains to show Vehko exerts conservative generational stereotypes but they will never see themselves in Vehko who lumps all youth into the label 'millennial' yet papering over racism & other discrimination of minorities in academia
In Vehko's article, a mid-20s Black man is criticised for working too hard (likely due to economic necessity) same as a Saudi man in his 30s is critiqued for having kids (he classifies as a mature age student BTW). Only the White woman mature age student is the ideal.
Whiteness dominates academia in much the same way it does on Twitter discussions about this article, and other fields.

When we ignore whiteness we do so at the peril of the biases we bring to class/ lab/ workplace, writing off the potential of #POC, whatever their generation.
For those who have avoided reading the piece doing the rounds due to paywall/ registration, here's a free/ open access version: world.edu/millennials-th…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Dr Zuleyka Zevallos

Dr Zuleyka Zevallos Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @OtherSociology

Jul 18, 2018
How does a White Australian woman sociologist lay a claim to decolonising sociology without throughly engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women & femme scholarship? Without discussing fellow sociologist Prof Aileen Moreton-Robinson? journals.sagepub.com/stoken/default…
How does a White woman sociologist ignore Australian women of colour who specialise in critical race and ethnicity studies? How does she put herself forward as an expert in decolonising knowledge when her body of work has pretty much ignored race?
How does a White woman academic get published on decolonising sociology without critical engagement with the concepts of race & racism - let alone reflecting deeply and critically with her own Whiteness and how her career has benefited from racial inequality baked into academia?
Read 10 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!