A University of Texas professor is backtracking after a quiz question went viral for claiming “wealthy white men” most often evade justice and “repeatedly violate the rights of others.”
Associate Professor Kirsten Bradbury gave a quiz to her Personality Psychology class that included a question on Antisocial Personality Disorder. She claimed medical professionals use the diagnosis discriminatorily:
Antisocial Personality Disorder is a racist diagnosis in the way it has been applied. It is also a sexist diagnosis, although to a much lesser extent. Neither race nor gender is determinative in Antisocial Personality Disorder.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder lie and manipulate others without feeling guilt. Although Bradbury claimed that medical professionals use the diagnoses to discriminate based on race and sex, her question said that one demographic is more likely to exhibit signs of the disorder:
However, if we must go there, which socio demographic group is most likely to repeatedly violate the rights of others in a pattern of behavior that includes violence, deceit, irresponsibility, and a lack of remorse? (Hint: They also happen to hold the most social power and because of that can get away with the most wrongdoing.)
The question’s multiple-choice options included “middle-class Latino families,” “wealthy white men,” “Asian men of all economic groups,” or “female dentists.” A screenshot of the question shows “wealthy white men” as the correct answer.
However, after students took the quiz, Bradbury said the assessment had “grown too stale to use” because of “the current rate of sociocultural and scientific change,” according to the Washington Free Beacon. She did not clarify what new research or other findings made the question unusable.
In her Psychology 309 class syllabus, Bradbury says she is “committed to creating a learning environment that is safe and supportive of the identities and perspectives of all marginalized or minoritized people” and that she will “honor your request to address you by a name and gender pronoun you use (she/he/they/ze, etc.)”
Bradbury does not penalize students for late quiz grades, instead leaving the activities open until the last day of class. Students also assign themselves a journaling grade at the end of the semester, with the grading rubric based on the honor system.
The University of Texas Board of Regents awarded Bradbury the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching award in 2017—a prize that came with $25,000 in cash.
Bradbury also received the Dr. Ann Repp Department of Psychology Excellence in Teaching award during the 2021-22 school year, where the department described her classes as “the most in-demand undergraduate courses.”
Ann Huff Stevens, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, told Texas Scorecard, “The College of Liberal Arts is committed to excellence in its teaching. The material in question has been removed.”
The UT Regents are appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott and confirmed by the Texas Senate.