BYU Professor Orders Students to Snap Photos of On-Campus ‘Whiteness’ – Opinion

Recent students at Brigham Young University received quite an investigation assignment.

Allegedly (apply that word to all the following), Assistant Professor of Sociology Jane Lopez told her students to roam campus looking for “whiteness.”

After it was discovered, the team took photographs.

Per the “Revealing Whiteness Activity” instructions:

Spend 30 minutes with a group of students exploring elements of BYU’s physical and social environment. As a Predominantly White Institution (PWI), BYU not only has a disproportionate number of White students in its student body (compared to the US population as a whole), but it also has different aspects of “Whiteness” built into its physical and social environment. Your goal, as a team, is to photograph and describe at least three different manifestations of “Whiteness” that you find around campus. Your team member will upload the photos (in Digital Dialogue), along with short descriptions about how each photo highlights a particular aspect of Whiteness around campus.

Whiteness: What does it mean? Jane instructs you:

Whiteness can be described as:

  • a location of structural advantage, or “race privilege”
  • a “standpoint,” or a place from which White people look at themselves, at others, and at society
  • A set of cultural traditions that is often not identified or named

The teacher’s on the same team as White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo, described by Jane as a “whiteness scholar.”

Robin, the assignment makes clear, begins “with the premise that racism and White privilege exist in both traditional and modern forms.” Resultantly, she and others “work to reveal it.”

Similar tasks were undertaken by BYU students. But, somebody blew the whistle.

The Campus Reform Report:

BYU Conservatives, a student-led organisation, allegedly made the assignment public via a social media post. They claim that university staff began to back them up after they posted the assignment.

According to CR, BYU professor Eric Bybee was called upon by the CR on social media to fulfill his religious obligation and respect copyright concerns:

This activity is a response to the prophetic call to root out racism, nationalism, and prejudice of any kind in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: “White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a “white culture” or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.

Sharing material from (a) professor’s course without their express permission is a violation BYU’s Intellectual Property Policy and the Honor Code. This post should be removed.

BYU Conservatives members claim Professor Eric had sent them personal messages.

“Your beliefs do not give you the right,” he wrote, “to violate university/faculty member intellectual property and invite targeted harassment of one of my colleagues.”

But in the view of one student conservative, “The key thing is that the left in the university doesn’t want its ideas exposed to others. Which is a weird thing if they actually believe their ideas are consistent with the truth.”

You might be in awe that BYU is hosting the above-mentioned hubbub. But it’s not the first time the college has made news for a left-of-center occurrence:

The assignment brings to mind one at the University of New Hampshire, in which an instructor ordered students to personally confront their peers who were engaging in “ableist,” “homophobic,” or “racist” behavior.

The course is courtesy of:

You must…record calling them in, in order to get credit. You must ask for permission before recording the call. Also, make sure to check with your professor that you are okay with it being recorded.

So goes America in the wake of “Punch a Nazi.”

The education sector has taken a brave step to change the way it views whiteness, racial identity and reckoning. Traditional academics have become increasingly obsolete.

Can America see racial harmony again? Maybe — once “whiteness” has been wholly wiped out.

Meanwhile, for those in Jane Lopez’s class who aren’t yet hip to the revolution, there’s plenty of time for enlightenment.

Robin DiAngelo, after all, was late to this game.



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