She had issues: too many 'blacks and homos'

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


I believe in the cultural studies "project". And I persist in the belief - contrary to evidence - that universities can change the world. I want our classrooms to capture the extraordinary, passionate, enthusiastic and imaginative, rather than the ordinary, boring, banal and beige.

Teaching cultural studies was the greatest privilege of my life. Course after course, year after year, tutorials were filled with radical, challenging, stroppy and fascinating students. But there was one student who was a shocker. "Nicole" enrolled in a large first-year cultural studies class. She ridiculed me. No problem. She attacked other students. Problem.

I asked her to come to my office and chat about her studies. I probed that she seemed somewhat uncomfortable. She spat her reply: "There are too many homos and abos in that classroom. They smell weird. I don't want to sit next to them. But there are so many, I can't get away from them. And you seem to be supporting them. You must be a homo as well."

I took a breath. My concern at this expression of overt homophobia and racism was flooded by... disappointment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Specialist publicationTimes Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


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