Consent as a Grey Area

Recently I was having a discussion with my of my friends who has a learning disability. She was telling me that this semester in one of her classes her professor does “popcorn reading,” otherwise known as calling on a student randomly to read out loud. Although, her learning disability is something that she does have a good grasp on at this point in her life, she still struggles with reading out loud. As a result she dreads going to that particular class. This brings up a very interesting question for all of us who are apart of the collegiate community. Should professors ask their students for their consent when it comes to things like randomly calling on them in class or as students of the college do we automatically give our consent when we pay our tuition bills and register for our classes?

Unfortunately, in most cases I have found that professors do have the mind set that “well you consented to coming to class today so you have consented to the lesson I have planned.”  In fact I have been in college for three years now and this past week is the most I have ever talked about consent in the classroom setting. It was refreshing to me to have a professor care enough about the idea of consent to actually give us worksheets to fill out, in regards to using our phone numbers to contact us.

While reading Octavia Butler’s short story “Bloodchild” my initial reaction, to be honest, was complete confusion. In class on Monday, however, I started to think about the idea of consent in relation to “Bloodchild.” In Butler’s “Afterward” she writes, “On one level, it’s a love story between two very different beings” (30). This made me start thinking about how consent may not always be present in every little aspect of your life, however, that is not always a bad thing. Butler obviously wanted her readers to see the story as a love story, which leaves us to interpret that love and good relationships can still be present even if the consent of the relationship is not completely clear.

Overall, over this past week through our discussions and my own personal thoughts, I have gathered that consent may always have a grey area when it comes to certain topics. This grey area is shown in our college classroom settings and is shown throughout the story “Bloodchild.”

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