I need a specific class to graduate. However, it's only taught by a single instructor who happens to be of a demographic group that I'm uncomfortable around.

How could I complete the required coursework given this discomfort?

  • 1
    Because I'm sure that this question'll get a lot of rude/abusive flags: folks, please consider that questions like this can be teaching opportunities.
    – Nat
    Feb 7, 2018 at 7:16
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    @Nat I read this question many times (the original version). I am inclined to think it's troll. Of course, I cannot be sure. I am going to wait and see. In order to respect your opinion, I take no action on this post (no flag nor vote to close)
    – Nobody
    Feb 7, 2018 at 7:32
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    This seems to be all about YOUR attitude - as you have not mentioned any action on the part of the professor that is outside of the normal professorial behaviour - you need to do some learning...
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 7, 2018 at 7:49
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    @Nat There is little evidence that this turned out to be a "teaching moment." And I think your edits significantly distort the content of the question. If OP is worried that some old white dude teaches the course "Intersectional feminism in the context of the BLM-movement", OP might feel uncomfortable with the demographic group of the instructor too, but the context would be very different. Does the world really need more racists in "Business Management?" Feb 7, 2018 at 12:25
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    Please edit your question to elaborate why you are feeling uncomfortable and what exact problems you have. Otherwise answering this is a broad guessing game.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Feb 7, 2018 at 20:36

2 Answers 2


You wouldn't be the first student ever to feel uncomfortable around an instructor due to demographic membership. In this case, it may be due to race. In others, I've seen students who've been sexually assaulted by the other gender feel uncomfortable around instructors of that gender. These feelings are unfortunate, though they seem to happen in the real world.

It's kind of an XY-problem, though. We have overwhelming empirical evidence that instructors of all races can be excellent teachers. This is, it's unlikely that the instructor's race is the true problem; rather, we might consider the unpleasant feelings about race to be the true issue.

You might consider reflecting on your feelings about race and specifically why it's a problem for you. Professional counselling may help to reveal the issue. And depending on your institution, such services may already be offered to students.

In the long run, it'd seem healthiest for you to learn how you truly feel and seek to address whatever emotional causation this particular situation may reflect.

  • The above answer is a quick one that I haven't had time to fully consider yet. Ideally, this sort of question would be addressed more thoroughly. Just trying to help guide the issue in the right direction, such that a teaching moment isn't lost.
    – Nat
    Feb 7, 2018 at 8:03
  • You're right. I think I'll drop the class and hope for better luck next semester. Delaying my graduation won't hurt that much, my parents will pay for everything.
    – user87174
    Feb 7, 2018 at 8:17
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    @user87174 Do you really feel that uncomfortable around the other racial group? I mean, honestly, that seems like a pretty big long-term problem that'd be healthier to address sooner than later.
    – Nat
    Feb 7, 2018 at 8:19
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    @user87174 think long term: I assume you want to have a fulfilling job. Do you really think you can avoid interacting with people from a specific racial group for the rest of your life? Right now is the time to deal with these issues, before they are going to seriously hinder your career. This is what professional counselors are for. Once you graduate it will only be much harder to make use of such services. So now is the time to do something about it: Get help, and don't drop out of that course. Feb 7, 2018 at 9:32

Take the class with this professor. You are most likely uncomfortable with this professor's race because of minimal exposure to interactions with this person's race. The real world is full of people that are different than you, and becoming comfortable with that is part of being an adult. Interacting with people that are different than you, whether it be race, sexual orientation, religion, etc. will help you grow as a person and open your world view, which is a huge part of the purpose of college in the first place.

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