From national and international outlets like Gawker, MSNBC, Slate, Salon and others, to a firestorm of local press coverage and social media posts, Professor Gibney's story has resonated with hundreds of thousands of people. A sampling of media:
Teaching While Black and Blue
by Shannon Gibney (Gawker)
Unfortunately, what I have experienced here is that the vast majority of faculty and administration at this institution have absolutely no investment in finding common cause around racial equity. In fact, I would have to say that the majority of them may even actively fear racial equity, because embracing it would mean that they would have to radically change their pedagogies, course curriculum, biased policies, as well as (and this is the real rub, I think) the racial and ethnic make-up of the faculty and leadership on this campus, which is still more than 90 percent white.
Three white college students file racial discrimination complaint against professor over lesson on structural racism
by Katie McDonough (Salon)
Shannon Gibney says that the students reacted in a hostile manner to the lesson in her Introduction to Mass Communication class, with one of them asking her, “Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we have to talk about this?"
The Discomfort Zone
by Tressie McMillan Cottom (Slate)
Elevating discomfort to discrimination mocks the intent of the policy, but that’s not the whole of it. By sanctioning Gibney for making students uncomfortable, MCTC is pushing a disturbing higher-education trend. When colleges and universities become a market, there is no incentive to teach what customers would rather not know. When colleges are in the business of making customers comfortable, we are all poorer for it.
A Few Things I Think We Should Learn From MCTC’s Attack on Professor Shannon Gibney
by Chaun Webster (Opine Season)
It is an outrage, albeit not a surprise, that MCTC would embrace such a backwards philosophy that places the comfort of two white male students as a healthy center for a discussion on structural racism. There is no shortage of irony in the matter of a brilliant woman of color professor being disciplined for leading a discussion on structural racism when it discomforts white male students, and furthermore being sent to a training that the college had the audacity to frame as giving Professor Gibney a lesson in intercultural competency.
by Colleen Flaherty (Inside Higher Ed)
In each case, Gibney ultimately was told that her conduct did not rise to the level of violating the college’s antidiscrimination policy. But she was warned about tone and "cooperation."
A Bi-Polar Campus
by Colleen Harris (MCTC City College News)
Instead, the message that Gibney, and thus all students and faculty, are receiving is that these are issues we still must tip-toe around. We are being told that we have to make people “comfortable,” that somehow when talking about hundreds of years of systematic oppression, and how it plays out in modern life, it can be a “comfortable” discussion. That white men can never be made to feel unease (and subsequently, white women like me) is their given privilege.
An Open Letter to the Three White Men That Complained About Discussing Structural Racism
by Ryan Williams-Virden
I know how you felt in that classroom. I grew up in Northeast Minneapolis, in a working-class family; I remember vividly my hostility at the notion I had any privilege, and at the racism conversation in general. But, like I hope you can, I was able to process the information, depersonalize it, and was ultimately convinced at the truth of it all. It is this truth that I would like to discuss with you.
Racism in the Classroom: I Am Shannon Gibney
(2 Dope Sistahs)
When I first heard Gibney’s story it wounded me deeply because I understand how easily it could have been me. I know what it is like to have spent more than a decade of my time on research, scholarship and teaching, to only be dismissed by students who do not believe that I deserve to be in the classroom. I wish Professor Gibney did not have to experience this and I send her positive energy, wherever she may be.
Video: City College Air: Discrimination on Campus
Video: Professor Gibney speaks with Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC
Podcast: Shannon Gibney speaks with Charlene Sayo
Shannon’s uncomfortable yet crucial story—coupled with her witty, firebrand personality—clobbered America’s cracked notion of a post-racial society, bringing to the centre its legacy of colonialism, slavery, racism and the frictions of shifting race, class and gender power structures in contemporary America.