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11.19.2010

was this professor fired for refusing to teach from a racist textbook?

A former University of Central Florida professor has filed a lawsuit against the school after she said she was let go because she refused to use a textbook that "contains antiquated and offensive racial, ethnic and other stereotypes": Former professor sues UCF, says she was fired for complaining about textbook.

According to court documents, Dr. Nancy Rudner Lugo believes her termination came after she complained about and later refused to use Guide to Culturally Competent Health Care in her Community Health Nursing class, because students complained "of how their ethnic groups were depicted" in the text.

The lawsuit lists several specific examples of allegedly stereotypical depictions of particular races or ethnicities:

  • In the third chapter, titled "People of African American Heritage," authors Larry D. Purnell and Betty J. Paulanka explain that, "Because significant numbers of African Americans are poor and live in inner-cities, they tend to concentrate their efforts on day-to-day-survival."


  • The text says that in the black community "being overweight is seen as positive," asserting that, "It is important to have meat on one's bones to be able to afford weight loss during times of sickness."


  • The chapter states that African-Americans tend to be loud, "high-keyed, animated, confrontational and interpersonal." The text includes "voodoo doctors" among a list of "folk" healthcare practitioners common to African-American culture.


  • The lawsuit lists similar commentary on numerous other groups. Traditional Italian-American families, the text states, "recognize the father's authority as absolute; nothing is purchased, and decisions are not made without his approval."


  • The text claims that Japanese wives "care for husbands to a great extent. Japanese men are presumed not to be capable of managing day-to-day matters."


  • It explains that, in the company of Jewish people, jokes "that refer to the Holocaust or concentration camps" or "implying that Jews are cheap or pampered" are inappropriate.
  • Dude, what kind of textbook is this? In what year was it published? And who's the "culturally competent" genius who wrote it? It seems to me that if you're interested in learning about "culturally competent health care," this book sounds like the last place you'd want to look. And this professor got fired for refusing to teach from it?