Student: Textbook claims Reagan was sexist, conservatives 'pessi - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Student: Textbook claims Reagan was sexist, conservatives 'pessimistic'

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Sophomore University of South Carolina student Anna Chapman says as she read through her "Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare" textbook last fall, she couldn't believe what she saw.

"I am all for free speech, but not when opinion is presented as fact in a textbook," said Chapman.

When asked what didn't line up, Chapman first pointed out a passage about President Ronald Reagan.

"He viewed American males as rugged individuals who could accomplish almost anything if they tried," said Chapman, reading from the book "Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare: Critical Thinking Perspectives" by Karen K. Kirst-Ashman. "Similarly, he ascribed to women primarily domestic functions and failed to appoint many women to significant positions of power during his presidency."

On, the site shares how Reagan's nomination of the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice "shattered a glass ceiling." Other sites acknowledge he nominated 1,400 women to high-level, policy-making positions.

"This book is not fact, it is not fact and what it said about Reagan, implying that he was a sexist without enough evidence to back it up, I mean..." said Chapman.

But Chapman says even more concerning to her was the consistent line the book drew between political parties.

"The way that conservatives view people, it says they view people as lazy, and incapable of true charity," said Chapman.

"Liberals are much more optimistic about human nature," Chapman read. "They tend to believe people are born with infinite possibilities for being shaped for the good."

"It personally offended me because I've grown up in a middle class, conservative family that gives more than they have and does everything they can to help people in need who reach out to them," said Chapman. "To me this is just as bad as something that is racist or sexist, because it's demonizing a specific group of people just because they have a certain belief."

We reached out to the University who declined to have a representative go on camera. However, USC University spokesman Wes Hickman has issued a statement which reads: 

"The University of South Carolina is committed to the free expression of ideas across our community—academic freedom and a vigorous public discourse.  Our faculty and academic programs are free to select texts for their courses and our students are encouraged to raise questions, challenge convention and develop their own ideas.  This course, like many others, encourages critical thinking and we are pleased to see it has inspired a lively conversation, much like President Reagan did when he spoke to a crowd of 9,000 on our Horseshoe after being presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree Sept. 21, 1983."

But Chapman is hoping the University will send more than just a statement.

"I am glad the University has said something about it, but I don't think what they said was really good enough," said Chapman.

Chapman is hoping they'll take the book out of the curriculum and that whoever selects the textbooks from now on will take a closer look.

"This wasn't even a political science class, this was a class about social work," said Chapman. "It worries me that people are teaching this book to kids and people aren't even questioning it. If I didn't keep up with politics, I wouldn't question it."

Chapman adds that she's in the second part of her social work classes now and her current textbook has similar themes.

However, she says she has not had any issues with any of her other classes and doesn't want her textbook concern to be a reflection on the University as a whole.

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