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SDSU Professor causes controversy with comments during online lecture

A video clip has gone viral on social media after the professor made comments some viewed as racist

SAN DIEGO — A video clip has gone viral on social media after a San Diego State University professor made some controversial comments during a lecture that some viewed as racist.

The 50-second clip was posted on Instagram by a student and now the university has responded.

The university released a statement basically explaining that the professor’s comments were a part of a larger point he was trying to make about racism but some students said they aren’t buying that explanation.

“Some of them are completely b.s. and I don’t believe in them at all so please don’t assume that I am teaching them but let’s say our assumptions. I may have an assumption that Black people are just not as intelligent as White people. Oooo I can hear already people getting all riled up, right?" said Professor Robert Jordan during a recorded online lecture for the School of Theater, Television and Film at SDSU.

These comments made by Jordan during a recent online lecture have some students upset, saying he was insensitive and ignoring the intense, racial climate in the country right now.

“I can believe that. That was the way I was raised. That’s just the way my values are. It doesn’t mean I’m going to come and lynch you. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to do something to attack you. It may mean that I won’t hire you,” Jordan also said during the lecture. 

A student in Jordan’s class sent the clip out to a group of friends which included SDSU student Tyree Baker. Baker then posted the clip on his Instagram page which as of Wednesday night had over 24,000 views.

“Initially, I just wanted to spread the awareness of it, but it ended up being viral because he then afterwards, didn’t apologize to the students he offended,” Baker said. 

San Diego State University released the following statement:

"San Diego State University has been made aware of a video posted on social media which shows a clip of a recent lecture by School of Theatre, Television and Film lecturer Robert Jordan. In the :50 video, the instructor gives an example of a racist view or ideology. Jordan insists the clip in no way represents his personal views or opinions. To be clear, SDSU does not tolerate acts of marginalization, racism and hatred based on personal background, identity or skin color.

The :50 clip is part an hour-long lecture highlighting examples of how racism and discrimination have been portrayed in television and film, like the Roots and Holocaust mini-series of the 1970s, over time. The goal of the course is to discuss how television and film, through portraying these very real, racist events in history, are able to help viewers better understand the plight and continued struggles of people with different backgrounds or identities than their own."

“What he said was very unnecessary. I think he could’ve used many different examples,” Baker said after hearing of the university's response. 

Hundreds of students made comments on the Instagram post directed at SDSU. Some agreed with the university and others pushed back against Jordan’s comments and the university’s response.

“They talk about diversity but stuff like this, they should step up for the Black community or the Black students that were in that class. I just think it was all wrong,” Baker said. 

Professor Jordan sent the following email statement to CBS 8 in response to our request for comment:

"The comments shown on social media were totally out of context. It is a 50 second clip taken from the middle of an hour-long lecture. The lecture was specifically about peoples' beliefs and values and how they are often formed in one's youth. I specifically stated in the lecture that of the example opinions I was about to cite, some were true and others were complete BS. If you listen to even the 50 second clip, you can hear the first thing I say is that some beliefs and values people have are true and others are complete BS. It's actually in the very sound bite used to criticize me. 

For the record, I also refer to people who believe from a young age that they should not trust Asians or that all Jews are greedy. I have not received any complaints from those ethnic groups yet, but I could if we go by the same yardstick.

Throughout the lecture, both before and after the attack sound bite, I reiterate frequently that everyone has different values and beliefs about the people around them and that we almost never think about them or evaluate them in ourselves. I also emphatically state that the beliefs I am articulating are not my own opinion. However, they may be the beliefs of other people in other parts of the world.

The whole point of the lecture was to point out false and even offensive values and ideologies held by a variety of people. Instead, several students believe that because I said something that others might believe that it is instead my own actual opinion."


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