“Hold another white person accountable.”
An event sponsored by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will on Wednesday teach “an innovative approach to racial equity” by segregating white and minority students and faculty.
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The daylong workshop, billed as part of the “White Racial Literacy Project,” seeks to facilitate “concrete efforts to address whiteness,” as well as other “racial inequalities in institutional decision-making, the academic curriculum, and the campus.”
First spotted by Campus Reform, the event is divided into three sessions. The first two are exclusively for white students, faculty and staff. The last session is for “faculty, staff, and students of color.”
The segregated workshop, titled catchily “White People’s Right to Be Wrong and Still Be Right,” will be hosted by Dr. Frances E. Kendall, whose bio on the event page boasts that she’s a “nationally known consultant” focused on “diversity, and white privilege.”
“She will highlight the complex challenges White people face when confronted with truths about white racism,” the bio says. “Drawing from contemporary examples, Dr. Kendall will unpack concepts such as “whiteness” and “white supremacy” in an effort to challenge participants to reflect on ways they may consciously and unconsciously resist efforts to promote racial equity on campus.”
Though the event website is sparse on details, it promises folks of a fair complexion a path to overcoming the casual bigotry imbued in them by their skin tone. This will be achieved, according to the website, by providing “a reflective opportunity for white people within the university community to unpack misconceptions and misinformation about structural racism.”
The event is part of the “Teaching for Racial Equity Workshop Series,” which guarantees that participants will become “better prepared” to “examine their privilege and biases” and to “effectively respond to microagressions and disruptive behavior.”
Other lectures in the series, which will also be racially separated, bear such titles as “I Don’t Belong Here: My Otherness, My Privilege” and “Negotiating Whiteness in the Context of Contemporary Racism on Campus.”
“I would love for the people who are participating in this [project] to feel as if they can hold another white person accountable,” urban education professor Lori Patton Davis told Wyfi Indianapolis after the grant was announced.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, which is located in downtown Indianapolis, did not immediately respond to Pluralist’s request to explain the reasoning behind its policy of distinguishing between races, or how it will be adjudicated and enforced. While different communities can undoubtedly have different collective needs and interests, reinforcing racial differences would seem a questionable approach to advancing social justice.
Anyone who remembers the fallout from Evergreen College’s 2017 Day of Absence (and the backlash liberal evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein faced for suggesting it was a bad idea) won’t be surprised by seeing elite university’s attempting to educate students about racism by culling them along racial lines. But the irony is not less rich for being familiar.
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