University Backs Off Controversial “White Privilege” PSA

by Charles Rollet - Northwestern University on June 25, 2012

“It’s hard to see racism when you’re white.”

That’s the slogan of the Un-Fair Campaign, which says it wants to raise awareness of ‘white privilege’ in America, starting in the mostly white town of Duluth, Minnesota.

But the campaign, which is backed by numerous local institutions–including the town’s mayor, Don Ness, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth–has received more heat than expected due to what some have called a divisive advertisement campaign.

The campaign put up posters around the Duluth area, which showed white peoples’ faces covered in sentences like “We’re lucky to be white–lucky that people see us, not a color,” and “Is white skin really ‘fair’ skin?”

The campaign also released a video, which gained over 150,000 views on Youtube but received thousands of ‘dislikes’ and relatively few ‘likes.’

In response to the criticism, UMD issued a press release dissociating itself with the controversial posters and videos. The press release noted, “While we fully support the foundations and principles of the Un-Fair Campaign, we feel the PSA is divisive and we do not agree with the creative strategy.”

In the press release, UMD said it “expressed displeasure” that the Un-Fair Campaign’s controversial PSAs attacking ‘white privilege’ were “aired without a chance for our review.” It also reminded the press that UMD is merely one of the campaign’s many sponsors, rather than its sole backer as was reported by some in the media.

But Joan Varney, who is an assistant professor of education at UMD and President of the Board at Duluth’s YWCA–the organization that started the campaign–said the ads were not meant to offend, but to question.

“It certainly was not our intent to be divisive, and people are free to think what they want,” she said. “But the students who have more education in racial history understood the campaign, I think, and people who do not may have interpreted it as an attack on white people.”

Still, the message is important, said Varney.

“[We started this campaign] because of racial inequality, starting from the beginning of this country, which continues to this day,” Varney said. “Some work has been done against racism but one of the missing pieces is the privilege white people in this country have in a way that is systematically conferred.”

Samantha Lepak, a student at UMD who has written about the campaign before, responded to the University’s press release.

“While I think it’s good for them to stand by the campaign, I also think it’s important they recognize that it’s offensive and that there are better ways to do this,” she said.

When asked whether she thought racism was a problem at UMD, she replied: “I don’t think so–there are a lot of efforts to include people on campus.”

Fix Contributor Charles Rollet is a sophomore at Northwestern University.

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  • bill tse

    “But the students who have more education in racial history understood the campaign, I think, and people who do not may have interpreted it as an attack on white people.”

    According to Joan Varney, the majority of people are too stupid to understand how enlightened she is, and if you’re against it, you’re racist. Nice code words in the quote.

    Typical response, living in a bubble, trying to assuage white guilt by labeling every white person as a racist and guilty of simply being. Not sure how that message is about equality. I cringe that Joan is a stereotype of our educators.

    • No Thanks

      “According to Joan Varney, the majority of people are too stupid to understand how enlightened she is, and if you’re against it, you’re racist. Nice code words in the quote. ”

      Picked up on that gem, too.

      The world has only existed a few hundred years when it’s convenient to their message.

      But what else can we expect from a University in a 90+% white and liberal city?

      This ad is just as insulting to black people like myself as it is to white folks.
      Being black is neither a privilege or a crime,
      being white is neither a privilege or a crime,
      and I certainly don’t need a self-hating group of white people prostrating themselves before me and apologizing for being white and trying to put me in this little “underprivileged” black box.

      Shame on these kids and the people supporting them.

  • Mike D.
  • Naive White Guilt

    It never surprises me to find out that the whites who are behind this kind of “White Privilege” nonsense are always goofy naive whites who are sheltered in academia in super-white places like Duluth, Portland Oregon, and Seattle.

  • http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-detroit/dan-poole Dan Poole

    “While we fully support the foundations and principles of the Un-Fair Campaign”

    UMD hasn’t apologized for ANYTHING! They still support the goal of the Unfair Campaign, which is white genocide. They just want the message to be packaged differently.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/the-un-fair-campaign-gets-torn-to-shreds-by-mainstream-america

  • Quaran Nation

    The solution is invoke black supremacy. Black equality will not be satisfying. Therefore, the solution is to make ALL white skinned people indentured servants to neighboring black families from this day forward. Regardless of the age of that white person. Even if the nature of the service desired by the ordinate blacks of their inferior and subordinate white counterparts is sexual servitude. Require the white children, starting at age 2, to hold a job whereby all compensation earned by that white child…and eventually white adult to be turned over to their black owner. After 200 years of this arrangement…perhaps…the debt will be paid. Not even the native Americans are as maligned as the blacks.

  • Michael Collins

    I’m not from Minnesota, but crap like this makes me want to move there and work for the removal of the idiots responsible.
    What pinheads

  • Renatius Barton

    The stupid assumption of this “creative strategy” in Duluth is that it assumes white people have never been the victim of black racism. As most everyone outside Duluth knows, some black people can be extremely and violently racist.

  • Naive White Guilt

    I wonder if at the next meeting of the naive white-guilt “Unfair Campaign” dupes, if they will discuss the increasingly common atrocity of elderly whites attacked and often raped by blacks. There are hundreds of news stories about blacks attacking elderly whites, it happens several times a week. Will the “Unfair Campaign” even acknowledge that such crimes exist? Here are two recent examples:

    ———————–

    http://www.ksla.com/story/18851604/neighbor-reacts-to-brutal-attack-against-elderly-woman

    Neighbor reacts to brutal attack against elderly woman
    Jun 21, 2012

    MANSFIELD, LA (KSLA) -

    A neighbor and friend to an elderly ArkLaTex woman that was brutally attacked by three men Tuesday night is speaking out.

    Police say it happened shortly before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night in the 1400 block of Regina Street in Mansfield, Louisiana. The victim’s neighbor, Mary Jo Sallis say it could have been much worse. “It’s a wonder they hadn’t killed her, you know, because she could identify ‘em,” says Sallis.

    Related content

    3 arrested in assault of elderly Mansfield woman
    MPD search for suspects in physical and sexual assault of 76-year-old woman

    Sallis says the victim is her longtime neighbor and friend of half a century. Sallis says she checked on her friend at the hospital. “She’s putting on a good front now, you know. But, she told the daughter she didn’t think she would ever be able to spend the night in the house by herself anymore.”

    Sallis says her 76-year-old friend had just returned from First Baptist Church in Mansfield after cooking for a Lions Club banquet that night.

    Mansfield Assistant Police Chief Gary Hobbs says, “The elderly lady had come home and she was transporting items from her vehicle inside the residence. She had made several trips in and out.”

    Hobbs says that’s when 18-year-olds Ladandrick Jones and Michael Campbell along with 19-year-old Emmanuel Bogan grabbed the victim in her carport. “They physically restrained her, drug her into the residence and that’s where the physical assault and ultimately the sexual assault took place,” says Hobbs.

    Mary Jo Sallis says she believes it could have just as easily been her attacked instead of her neighbor. “Well sure! That’s what scares me so. I went out while it was, just before or while it was happening, I went out on the carport,” says Sallis.

    The only difference for Sallis: Her husband was watching and waiting for her. “And, ‘course, wasn’t anything my husband could have done. Now, he was standing at the door, but it was nothing; they would have probably killed him,” concludes Sallis.

    The three men now face serious charges in that home invasion including robbery and rape. With the three suspects now locked up, each on $1.55 million bond, there is an uneasy peace that has settled back on the community of Mansfield knowing that these three men will not get out until the legal system determines their innocence or guilt. Mansfield Assistant Police Chief Gary Hobbs says the three suspects are cooperating with the investigation, but would not elaborate whether that might include full confessions to the attack.

    ——————

    [Note about the following article: Since the article was published, Bob Strait has died from his injuries/broken heart]

    Brutal home invasion of Oklahoma couple ends their 65-year romance

    20 March 2012

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2117695/Brutal-home-invasion-Oklahoma-couple-ends-65-year-romance-meeting-blind-date.html

    Couple met and married within a month and stayed together for 65 years… only to be parted after home invader beat wife to death

    Nancy Strait, 85, was sexually assaulted and battered to death by burglar
    Her husband Bob, 90, suffered a broken jaw and broken ribs in attack
    Police have arrested 20-year-old Tyrone Dale David Woodfork

    An 85-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and battered to death by a home invader who also shot her 90-year-old husband in the face with a BB gun.

    Nancy and Bob Strait, who had celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in December, were discovered by their daughter at their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Both the pensioners were rushed to hospital where Mrs Strait, who was nearly blind, died from her injuries.
    Mr Strait, who served in the 101st Airborne Division in World War II, suffered a broken jaw, broken ribs and severe bleeding. He is in a serious condition in hospital.

    Police have arrested 20-year-old Tyrone Dale David Woodfork in connection with the case.

    The Straits’ distraught family today paid tribute to the pair, who grew up in poverty in rural Oklahoma during the Great Depression.

    They met each other on a blind date on Thanksgiving 1946, married a month later and went on to have six children, 18 grandchildren and about 50 great and great-great grandchildren. They had recently welcomed a great-great-great grandchild.
    Their daughters Lanora and Andra told Tulsa World that the couple were loving and generous people who would do anything for anyone.

    ‘Dad never talked, and Mama never quit talking,’ Lanora said.

    ‘Whatever she did, it came from the heart,’ Andra added.

    The pair could be found sitting on their porch singing and playing the guitar during warmer summer evenings.

    Mr Strait, who had worked for the oil derrick supply company Lee C. Moore before retirement, enjoyed woodwork while his wife loved making quilts and baking.
    They had both been struggling with health problems before the attack. Mr Strait had been diagnosed with a terminal kidney illness but had outlived the doctor’s prognosis.

    ‘He was living because Mother was alive,’ Andra told Tulsa World.

    The couple had had food poisoning the week before the attack.

    ‘There is no one else who has been through what he’s been through who is still alive,’ Lanora said of her father.

    ‘We pray he doesn’t remember.’

    Tulsa police believe burglars broke into the Straits’ home either late Tuesday or early Wednesday last week. They were not found until the Wednesday evening.

    The home invaders made off with their Dodge Neon, a television and $200.

    Woodfork was later found hiding in a nearby house after a witness spotted the stolen vehicle being driven down the road.

    He is being held at Tulsa Jail without bail accused of first-degree murder, burglary, assault with a dangerous weapon and two counts of armed robbery.

    ‘This investigation is far from over,’ Officer Jason Willingham of the Tulsa police department told Tulsa World. ‘We’ve still got a lot of questions that we still need answered.’

    Mrs Strait’s funeral will be on Friday. The family has set up a fund the Nancy Strait and Bob Strait Support Trust to help pay for the service and her husband’s medical care.

  • Naive White Guilt

    I wonder if the “Unfair Campaign” will discuss all the black-on-white violent mob attacks of the last few years? Here is just one of over 100 examples:

    http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/126825018.html

    Witnesses describe mobs, many people claim racially-charged attacks

    By The WTMJ News Team

    Aug. 5, 2011

    WEST ALLIS – Witnesses tell Newsradio 620 WTMJ and TODAY’S TMJ4 of a mob of young people attacking innocent fair-goers at the end of the opening night of State Fair, with some callers claiming a racially-charged scene.

    Milwaukee Police confirmed there were assaults outside the fair.

    Witnesses’ accounts claim everything from dozens to hundreds of young black people beating white people as they left State Fair Thursday night.

    Authorities have not given official estimates of the number of people involved in the attacks.

    “It looked like they were just going after white guys, white people,” said Norb Roffers of Wind Lake in an interview with Newsradio 620 WTMJ. He left the State Fair Entrance near the corner of South 84th Street and West Schlinger Avenue in West Allis.

    “They were attacking everybody for no reason whatsoever.”

    “It was 100% racial,” claimed Eric, an Iraq war veteran from St. Francis who says young people beat on his car.

    “I had a black couple on my right side, and these black kids were running in between all the cars, and they were pounding on my doors and trying to open up doors on my car, and they didn’t do one thing to this black couple that was in this car next to us. They just kept walking right past their car. They were looking in everybody’s windshield as they were running by, seeing who was white and who was black. Guarantee it.”

    Eric, a war veteran, said that the scene he saw Thursday outside State Fair compares to what he saw in combat.

    “That rated right up there with it. When I saw the amount of kids coming down the road, all I kept thinking was, ‘There’s not enough cops to handle this.’ There’s no way. It would have taken the National Guard to control the number of kids that were coming off the road. They were knocking people off their motorcycles.”

    Another witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “it was like a scene you needed the National Guard to control.”

    “To me, it looked like a scene out of a movie,” claimed the anonymous witness.

    “I have not seen anything like this in my life. It was a huge mob, and it was a fight that maybe lasted one to two minutes.”

    Roffers claimed that as he left the state fair with his wife, crowds near that entrance were large, and someone in that crowd.

    “As we got closer to the street, we looked up the road, and we saw a quite a bit of commotion going on and there was a guy laying in the road, and nobody was even laying there. He wasn’t even moving. Finally a car pulled up. They stopped right next to the guy, and it looked like someone was going to help him. We were kind of stuck, because we couldn’t cross. Traffic was going through. Young black men running around, beating on people, and we were like ‘Let’s get the heck out of here.’ The light turned, and I got attacked from behind. I just got hit in the back of the head real hard. I’m like, ‘What the heck is going on here?’ I heard my bell ring.”

    Roffers further described what witnesses said happened to the man who was lying in the street.

    “People were saying he was on a bike. They tore him off his bike and beat on him. We were walking to the west on Schlinger. I was watching behind me a lot more diligently, making sure there wasn’t anybody coming to get us anymore.”

    One person claimed that someone was knocked off a motorcycle.

    TODAY’S TMJ4 video shows West Allis police handcuffing at least one person, but they won’t say how many people they took into custody.

    Some witnesses described attacks on the State Fair Grounds as well.

    Milwaukee Police said that their officers were sent to State Fair Park for “complaints of battery, fighting and property damage due to a large, unruly crowd.”

    A police sergeant told TODAY’S TMJ4′s Melissa McCrady that the number of calls describing injuries are still coming in, so they could not give an accurate number of people who were injured.

    That sergeant explained that some injuries were serious, and local hospitals were attending to the injured.

    As of early Friday morning, Milwaukee Police said they had no one in custody.

    One woman told police that she was sitting in her car with a window down when some teenagers reached through her window and started attacking her.

    “I think once we get all the info in it’ll be just like that, like what happened in Riverwest,” said the police sergeant.

    West Allis Police ask you to call them at 414-302-8000 if you have any information.

    Eric: “I feared for my life”

    Eric, who asked Newsradio 620 WTMJ not to use his last name, talked about the incidents that happened as he, his wife and a neighbor left the fair Thursday.

    “We exited at the Schlinger and 84th exit, and we walked south about a block, and then went up and got our car, came back up and around down Schlinger. When we made a left hand turn, we were stopped in traffic. I looked toward the bridge, right before you get on the freeway, and all I saw was a road full of black kids, jumping over people’s cars, jumping on people’s hoods, running over the top of them.”

    Eric then claimed that he saw hundreds of young black people coming down a sidewalk.

    “I saw them grab this white kid who was probably 14 or 15 years old. They just flung him into the road. They just jumped on him and started beating him. They were kicking him. He was on the ground. A girl picked up a construction sign and pushed it over on top of him. They were just running by and kicking him in the face.”

    …. much longer article at link above

  • mcnell

    Ms. Varney would think differently if she lived in Duluth,GA.

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