In Honor of Black History Month, University Asks, ‘Is Professionalism a Racist Construct?’ – Opinion

We’re living in turbulent times. Crime is terrorizing the citizenry; riots and looting have sacked cities; businesses have been forced under by government mandates; in many areas of the country, residents are masking like surgeons despite having taken a vaccine and multiple boosters so they wouldn’t have to. There’s a lot to figure out.

And at Washington University’s Brown School, they’re attempting to major in the majors.

Amid all our issues, the St. Louis college recently hosted a discussion to tackle the mystery on everyone’s minds.

It’s a burning question: Is professionalism a racist construct?

This query was used as the title of the virtual event in honor Black History Month.

Per the February 1st video’s YouTube description, marginalization has been afoot:

The term “professionalism” has at times been used to silence and marginalize people of color, when attributes of appearance, language, or interactions that have nothing to do with job knowledge or constructive collegial relationships are labeled as “unprofessional.”

Campus Reform points out the distinctive features of white supremacy culture that are deep-seeded.

  • Perfectionism
  • A sense of urgency
  • Defensiveness
  • Worship of the Written Word
  • Quality over Quantity

Jewel Stafford, Assistant Dean of Field Education, waxes lyrical about inadequacy

“Even though we’re working really hard, there’s a narrative that we’re not enough, that somehow who we are, what we do, it’s just not enough.”

It’s a nasty narrative. Are there other forms of discrimination that the proponents of this postulation might also be interested in?

Education professionals became philosophical.

From the CR:

[Assistant Dean of the Office of Community Partnerships Cynthia Williams]According to them, it could have been different if they had recognized the marginalized group at that time.

For example, she noted that if the talk was given on Disability Awareness Day, the talk may have been called “Is it an Ableist Construct?” If it was given during Women’s History Month, it may have been called “Is it a Misogynistic or Sexist Construct?”

If the talk was given during Gay Pride Month, they might have called it “Is it a Heterosexist (Homophobic) Construct?” And if the talk was given during National Native American Heritage Month, it may have been called “Professionalism: Confronting Anti-Indigenous and Systemic Racism.”

Washington U’s understanding of America isn’t exactly an outlier.

In 2020, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture called out components of Caucasianness:

  • Rigid Individualism
  • The Nuclear Family
  • Objective Thinking
  • The key to success is hard work
  • Christianity is the Norm
  • Respecting Authority
  • Plan for the Future
  • Delayed Gradification
  • Action-Orientation
  • Decision-Making
  • Being Polite

White also means hard work, rational thought.

They ranked it last year at Colorado University as the bottom line

Without a doubt, this news shocked many Americans who are not white.

Perhaps America can be freed from the parasitic productivity in due time.

The Brown School continues to offer assistance.

The Zoom conference’s description further pointed out that “so-called professionalism is coded language, a construct that upholds institutional racist policies and excluding practices.”

It promised to “explore dismantling white supremacy and privilege in varied contexts while upholding social justice and advancing effective workplaces in which all contributors can bring their full selves to the job site.”

A group of people complimented an image onscreen and began meeting in a professional manner.

The Brown School, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri is located within the ancestral territories of the Osage Nation and Missouria. I also acknowledge the many tribes who have lived, occupied and called this area home. Their elders are remembered and honored.

What is the best way to honor them? Saying they are honored.

How did American Indians let their land go to institutions that seem to have acknowledged they had it, but refused to return it? Perhaps, in the view of Washington University, the tribes weren’t palefully professional enough.



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