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Penn State Professor Singles Out White Student To Discuss His Supposed Privilege

Penn State

A Penn State University sociology professor instructed a white student to stand up in class to make an example of how his race gives him privilege.


A Penn State University sociology professor instructed a white student to stand up in class to make an example of how his race apparently gives him privilege over others.

Sam Richards, who notes on his academic website he is “instructor of the largest race, gender and cultural relations course in the United States,” singled out a white undergraduate in a lecture that was posted to YouTube on June 30. While Richards just uploaded the video, the class took place on January 29, 2019.

In a discussion of racism, Richards picks on a student named Russell. The professor then told the hundreds of students he “has a benefit of having white skin.”

“Dude, this guy here. Stand up, bro. What’s your name, bro?” Richards said.

“Look at Russell, right here, it doesn’t matter what he does,” he also said. “If I match him up with a black guy in class, or a brown guy even …who’s just like him, has the same GPA, looks like him, walks like him, talks like him, acts in a similar way, has been involved in the same groups on campus, takes the same leadership positions, does whatever it is, if I match him up with that person and we send them into the same jobs, upon graduation …Russell has a benefit of having white skin.”

“Russell is going to go apply for a job, and he’s going to get the job or not get the job, and it’s never going to enter his mind that he got the job because he’s white,” Richards said later in the lecture, before telling a black student he “won’t know” why he didn’t get it over the other person.

This is not the first time the professor has forced his political opinions on students. As I independently reported for Broad and Liberty in April, a student named Aidan Mattis said Richards called him a “menace” for supporting free speech and said he was “tyrannical.”

“Professor Richards is exactly the type of white liberal Malcolm X talked about in the 1960s,” Mattis told The Federalist, saying the professor, “loves to use young, disenfranchised black youth to fit his own moral and virtuous goals, in pursuit of status and wealth at the expense of all those who are supposed to view him as a figure of authority.”

The university claimed in a statement that the lecture moment may have been “taken out of context.”

“Professor Richards purposefully teaches in a manner designed to promote discussion across a spectrum of opinions. His class is a popular elective, in which each semester hundreds (~800) of students join, bringing their varied perspectives,” Penn State said. “The class is quite balanced with individuals from different ethnic, gender and political backgrounds.”

Richards did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.