An Open Letter to Annemarie Bean
“Annemarie Bean, who goes by Anna and is a distant, poorer cousin of the family that owns the L.L. Bean clothing business, is the kind of professor who draws students to small New England liberal-arts colleges like Wesleyan. She is funny, enthusiastic, devoted to her students and passionate about what she teaches. Her subject areas are offbeat and slightly avant-garde, the kind of stuff that students, and their ostensibly liberal faculties, are said to find thrilling: African-American theater, the history of minstrelsy, “whiteness studies” — essentially, the intersection of race and theatrical performance in modern America. Beyond her subject matter and top-notch education, including a Ph.D. from New York University’s acclaimed performance-studies department, she just seems like a good fit for Wesleyan. She is an alumna of the college, class of ’88; she is informal in her manner, tall and limber like a dancer, bright-eyed, the opposite of stuffy, eminently approachable; and she suggested lunch at It’s Only Natural, the pride of Middletown, Conn., a regional mecca for vegetarian, vegan and macrobiotic dining. (Nothing says “Wesleyan” like lunch at It’s Only Natural, where you eat bulgur wheat beneath paintings by local artists.) Bean knows that she belongs at Wesleyan, which is why she’s especially sad that her students fired her.” — Judgement Day
Thank you, Anna for teaching us all a life lesson in white privilege–one of your many “off beat” and “slightly avant garde” areas of study/expertise (like African American theater, duh) that we liberals (“excluding all angry and brooding white men who wear white hats on backward and secretly harbor resentment against the misunderstood WASP aficionado of blackface history”) find absolutely “thrilling”. And thank you, Mark Oppenheimer for showing the world what good reporting looks like (note to self: never take Yale seriously ever, especially not the director of Yale Journalism Initiative). I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us for this inexcusable “miscarriage of justice” (really, Mark? you just had to be that dramatic?). The hard truth is we as students are OVER empowered by Wesleyan and the elevated role of our opinion in faculty’s fortunes is down right unfair to well-meaning, well-educated, and well-connected (not to mention “tall and limber like a dancer” and “bright eyed” white lady visiting) professors like yourself. Mark’s suggestion that “what students are really evaluating is less pedagogy than whether a professor is funny, handsome or, above all, an easy grader” is right on the money. We’re just superficial, shallow, and lazy saboteurs who have nothing better to do than write completely fictitious critiques about tokenism, disorganization, tardiness and lack of professionalism (Mark, I dare you to be more condescending and cliche next time, why don’t you say something about “voter apathy” and moral decay among our “bulgur wheat eating” youthful selves). Even if there were any grain of truth to the (articulate, well-written) negative evaluations, the fact that you are poorer than your cousin who owns L.L. Bean (gasp!) and an “It’s Only Natural” enthusiast (are you fucking kidding me?) quite obviously make up for any other relatively harmless shortcomings (like being racist or I don’t know, a terrible professor). You deserve a secure and prestigious position at an institution that will give you the respect and recognition that Wesleyan failed to provide (you are an overly dramatic and spiteful hater who needs to get over yourself and stop playing the white lady victim card and unpack that not-so invisible knapsack, girl. I’m sure Peggy McIntosh can help you out LOL). I hope that this report in the New York Times Magazine will help generate support for you and your noble cause (I hope you’re ready for the backlash and I hope you google your name and find this sarcastic as fuck blog entry and feel like a shithead). Yours truly, Isa. (Post-script: you are single handedly responsible for making me reconsider the performance studies program @ NYU, but I won’t let you determine my future so nevermind) Sorry y’all, I really had to get that off my chest, ya dig?