Culture

Oxford University: Avoiding Eye Contact Is Racist

(Photo: Wavebreakmedia/Dreamstime)
Making eye contact is something that many people still struggle with — and they struggle with it for many reasons other than racism.

According to Oxford University’s Equality and Diversity Unit, not making eye contact and “not speaking directly” to people are examples of racism.

The Telegraph newspaper reports that Oxford has informed students that these things can be examples of “racial micro-aggression,” which can cause “mental ill-health.”

Other examples of “everyday racism” listed on the guide included asking people where they were “originally” from and making jokes related to a person’s accent, according to Oxford Mail.

Make no mistake about it: It’s definitely better to make eye contact with people when you’re talking to them. After all, I’m pretty sure that no interviewer has ever said, “Gee, I really liked how much that one candidate kept staring at the floor while telling me why she was perfect for the job.” And I’ve never heard a girl say, “He always stares at the wall when he tells me he loves me, and that’s how I know that it’s real.”

We all know that making eye contact is better, but it’s something that many people still struggle with — and they struggle with it for many reasons other than racism. Some people are shy and unsure of themselves. Often, what causes people to look at the floor when they’re speaking to someone is not a lack of respect for the person that they’re speaking to, but a lack of respect for themselves. It’s a sign that they don’t have confidence in themselves or their ideas. Is making these kinds of people afraid that they are going to be accused of racism as well as rudeness going to make these situations more comfortable for them? No, I’d say that it probably won’t.

There are certain behaviors that undoubtedly are socially desirable, and the ability to make direct eye contact certainly is one of them. It’s a good thing to emphasize to college students how important eye contact is. I don’t, however, see a single good thing about trying to make it a racial issue. Eye contact is always beneficial, regardless of the race of the people involved. The advice to students shouldn’t be “Make sure you’re making eye contact with people who are of a different race than you, because if you don’t, that comes off as racist”; it should be “Make sure you’re making eye contact with everyone, regardless of race, because if you don’t, that comes off as rude.”

Sometimes, people are rude to people from minority races because they’re racist — but that doesn’t mean that every, or even most, incidents of rudeness against people who happen to be from minority races are automatically racially motivated. Talking to someone who won’t look at you is an experience that everyone in the world has had, regardless of race, and arbitrarily assigning racial motivations to something so universal isn’t going to help anyone.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.

READ MORE:

Most Popular

Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More