This archived article was written by: C. Josie Luke
At first I was shocked and even offended by the blatantly liberal and feminist way I perceived the class was being taught. My first introduction to the subject had been rather ordinary and at times almost bookish, which had suited me well, and the gall of this new professor was shocking and to be frank, unwelcome.
The first thing I thought was that I, personally, was the antithesis of all that the professor stood for – Me, a good little LDS “white girl.” The only thing that could have been worse is if I were male. How would I possibly survive in this aversive environment? How dare this newcomer make me feel uncomfortable!
I couldn’t challenge what the professor was teaching, because this person obviously knew more than I. I couldn’t use my normally indolent approach to writing papers or taking tests, and to make it all worse, I actually had to take notes.
As I struggled to find some way of showing my usually “people-pleasing” personality, the professor deviously began to undermine my “solid” opinions. I began to weaken before my fact-promoting and ingenious archenemy.
During this time, I slowly began to realize that although I thought myself rather intelligent, I was basically an ignorant, racist, arrogant, and sadly, typical member of the dominant group. E ven more terrifying, however, I really began to have respect for the difference my opponent was making in me, and many others. I was actually learning something in a class.
This liberal, feminist “schema-changer” was actually teaching me that although I might be a nice person, I had been incredibly blind and unintentionally cruel. If you can possibly imagine, I now adore this woman and look to her as a mentor, of which there are surprisingly few for a young woman in my position.
She began her education studying classical Greek at a college in Wisconsin and finished her bachelor’s degree in Texas, and then painfully going against her plan to never become her mother, she completed her Doctoral degree in psychology at the University of Montana. Then through many twists and turns, which she feels were meant to happen, she ended up teaching at a tiny community college in Price, Utah – the College of Eastern Utah.
She became head of the department and developed the multicultural psychology class that changed my view of the world. She also teaches introduction to psychology, social psychology and abnormal psychology, and for those of us lucky enough to have taken classes through the Utah State University Price Extension, we have gained even more from her genius.
As a teacher, she challenged my opinions, as a mentor she gave me an example of a person who fought through the challenges that I may face and came out victorious, and as a friend, she offered an always outstretched hand to pull me through my extremely grueling maturing process.
I am still unsettled by the fact that others will not have my opportunity, but assured by the fact that she was meant to be a part of my life and the lives of many others, and also because of her decision to stay and to continue her psychological services in an area that seriously needs them.
Along with many others, I offer my respect and gratitude for her friendship and example, I fear this sounds too much like an obituary. I am especially happy to have been able to laugh at myself and at her during the many hours of class that we spent studying the subtleties of the inexplicable human being.
To conclude, I would wish to express to everyone the irreplaceable loss of a woman, Dr. Angel M. E. Casey, who I believe is meant to help people become their most complete selves. Angel, I’m sure I can say, and many others would join in saying, thank you and good luck.