San Diego State Students Disgusted By Professor's 'Fake Slave Persona' Assignment
Africana Studies professor LaShae Sharp-Collins has drawn criticism for having her students create a fictional slave identity and perform it in front of the class.
by Evie B.
October 12, 2022 at 7:11 pm
According to The Daily Aztec reported, as part of her curriculum, Professor LaShae Sharp-Collins created a project for her Introduction to Africana Studies class that left her students appalled after being instructed to “create a ‘slave persona.’”
Students were required to specify the setting and environment their character lived in, as well as the type of work they did. And if this wasn’t already cringe-worthy, they also had to make up events around their fabricated flee from slavery.
One student was clearly insulted and in outrage over the project. Amari Jackson took his frustration to Instagram and posted a screenshot of the assignment with the caption”
“Should never have to act like and ‘create a slave persona’ for one of my Africana Studies classes. But hey, at least my professor canceled the in-class presentations where she wanted us to act and dress in our personas. (She canceled them because we had too many students and not enough time),” Jackson wrote.
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The Slave Narrative (My Life) post has now collected over 6000 likes, and Instagram users are expressing their disgust for the course assignment.
“Whoaaa, that’s wild,” Jordan Howden, originally from San Diego, and football star of the University of Minnesota, commented.
“Yoooo, this the most outta pocket thing I’ve ever seen😐 absolutely not ok,” another user commented.
“@sandiegostateuniversity can somebody explain this this is embarrassing?? Our history is not some comical play that we should pretend to be….. these were years of peoples lives years of misery and miss treatment years of getting degraded and disrespected that some people still go through to this day being that modern day slavery still exists . are you kidding me?????,” said another user of the social media platform.
Other students had their thoughts to share with the school newspaper as well. Robbie Jackson, who is in the class, said the assignment “felt really insensitive.” Along with two other students, Jackson declined the assignment and did not turn it in.
“Being a person who is black, [and] knowing that my family actually had to go through that was a really uncomfortable task. It’s like familial trauma, and it’s this deeply rooted issue,” he continued, voicing his opinion.
The Daily Aztec also shared that students expressed their discomfort with this assignment with the professor via email, and presented the idea of completing an alternative assignment, but Sharp-Collins denied their request.
While they remain to go hard for their feelings and stand their ground, Sharp-Collins is failing the students, and they are worried about their academic record.
A statement from Dr. Adisa A. Alkebulan, the chair of SDSU’s Department of Africana Studies, contested the assignment’s description stated by Jackson, The New York Post reports.
“To be clear, there was never a requirement to dress as slaves or speak in ‘broken English,’” he noted. “Professor Collins is an outstanding educator and a valued member of our faculty and university community.”
On Tuesday, the university’s Afrikan Student Union took their statement to Instagram, declaring that they met with Professor Sharp-Collins in an effort to “resolve and clarify this issue.”
“We as students know that Professor Collins would never do anything to harm students, and is committed to ensuring that every student is heard and respected inside and outside the classroom,” read the statement.
“This unfortunate misunderstanding is being revolved within the Black community between students, faculty, and staff as a collective.”
The school’s news reporter who originally published the story for The Daily Aztec has decided not to comment.