whiteness

Have you ever been required to attend a “white privilege” seminar/workshop, or one of its colorfully dubbed siblings like “Courageous Conversations” or “Difficult Dialogues”?

Have you ever wondered just what the very purpose of the whole thing was … and why you had to sit through the vacuous nonsense?

John McWhorter, writing in The Daily Beast this past week, asks “When students are compelled to have ‘White Privilege 101′ classes, we have every right to ask: Why, and for whose benefit?”

To anyone other than a perpetually aggrieved “studies” major, usually the answers are “I have no idea” and “radical progressives.’ ”

To wit:

“This is messy work, but these conversations are necessary,” says Sandra Chapman, director of diversity and community at Little Red School House in New York City. OK—but why? Note that the answer cannot be, “So that whites will understand that they are the privileged … etc.” That makes as much sense as saying “Because!” So I’m going to dare to ask a simple question: What exactly are we trying to achieve with this particular lesson?

McWhorter goes on to note how many progressives complain constantly that “we need conversations on race” (see: Eric Holder, for one), and rightly points out the following:

The fact that this conversation doesn’t lead to all whites bowing down to all black complaints, an outcome tacitly desired by a certain cadre of academics and journalists, does not disqualify it as a conversation.

Emphasis mine. Indeed, that “certain cadre” doesn’t want a real conversation. It wants only what McWhorter says — to give a lecture … and then a capitulation by the target audience.

But if you’re weary of being a punching bag by members of the perpetually aggrieved, you may have a remedy.

Consider: Recently, the president of the University of Oklahoma expelled several members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity due to a video depicting a disgusting racist chant. One of  UO President David Boren’s rationales for the swift action was that the video created a “hostile educational environment.”

This, even though the video was never intended to be viewed by the general public.

But even if it was, say, uploaded to YouTube, since anyone can choose to ignore the moronic recording, the charge of “hostile educational environment” remains specious.

“White privilege” seminars (and their equivalents), on the other hand, are typically a mandate — in an educational or employment setting. Meaning, you know, one just cannot choose to refuse to show up and/or exit when things get farcical.

Former Department of Education attorney Hans Bader says you don’t have to sit there and be racial quarry merely because you’re the wrong hue. And if someone insists you do, you have a legal remedy:

If [the Pacific Educational Group’s Glenn] Singleton inflicts his racist insults on a captive audience of teachers at a training seminar, they may well have a Section 1981 or Section 1983 claim against him for racial harassment. As cases such as Markham v. White (1999) and Ascolese v. SEPTA (1996) show, the amount of repeated abuse required for a hostile training environment claim by a public employee is much lower than for a hostile work environment claim, where isolated racist remarks are not actionable.

Moreover, he may be subject to individual liability for aiding and abetting discrimination under 42 U.S.C. 1981. Contrary to Singleton’s racist belief, racism is not a white monopoly, as the federal appeals courts have recognized in holding institutions liable for harassing or mistreating their white employees. See, e.g., Bowen v. Missouri Department of Social Services (2002) (racial harassment of white employee by black co-worker); Taxman v. Board of Education (1996) (school board liable for termination of white teacher).

Arlington County and Singleton should keep in mind that “diversity” training seminars that denigrate people based on their race or gender can give rise to successful harassment lawsuits, such as Hartman v. Pena (1995), which allowed a white male to sue for sexual harassment over an insulting gender-awareness seminar, and Robinson v. Reed (1978), which allowed a woman to sue for invasive questions in a race-relations seminar.

Of course, being who the perpetually aggrieved are, they might try to counter such a legal caution with something out of this playbook since the very concept of the law applying equally to everyone is often anathema to them.

Dave Huber is an assistant editor of  The College Fix. (@ColossusRhodey)

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Arizona State University’s Lee Bebout is teaching eighteen students in a class titled “U.S. Race Theory and the Problem of Whiteness.”

The course, according to ASU, “… is designed to empower students to confront the difficult and often thorny issues that surround us today and reach thoughtful conclusions rather than display gut reactions. A university is an academic environment where we discuss and debate a wide array of viewpoints.”

“Wide array,” eh? As long as the viewpoints maintain that “Whiteness” is a problem, I bet.

azcentral.com reports:

Five books are listed as required for the upper-division class, called “U.S. Race Theory and the Problem of Whiteness.” The texts include “Playing in the Dark” by Toni Morrison, an acclaimed novelist who has won a Pulitzer Prize, a Nobel Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The other required books are “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” by Richard Delgado, “Everyday Language of White Racism” by Jane Hill, “Alchemy of Race & Rights” by Patricia Williams, and “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness” by George Lipsitz.

The idea of “Whiteness” as a concept, rather than just skin color, has been a popular topic for research and academic classes since the late ’90s.

Lauren Clark, a student at ASU and a contributor to Campus Reform, appeared on “Fox and Friends” last Friday to discuss the matter:

Does anyone — anyone — think a course titled “U.S. Race Theory and the Problem of Blackness” would be permitted to be taught on a campus? To heck with microaggressions — such would be dubbed an irreconcilable macroaggression complete with sit-ins, die-ins, teach-ins, and the usual demands for mandated sensitivity training, “cultural competence” courses, increased number of minority faculty and students, and on and on and on …

Read the full article.

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As a student journalist, I received lots of hostile feedback ranging from people calling me a “piece of s—,” to the more creative “you wouldn’t make a good pimple on a journalist’s a—hole.” But the greatest hostility I’ve experienced came my way after the publication of an opinion piece here for The College Fix about indoctrination in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at my alma mater, Butler University.

A political science professor used her syllabi to ask students “to write and speak in a way that does not assume American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status, etc. to be the norm.” I explained that I thought being judged before the class even began and being forced to act in such a way ran against the mission of every institution of higher education.

The article soon went viral. Talk radio show hosts discussed it on air and it got picked up all across the Internet at places such as The Wall Street Journal’s “Best of the Web Today.” Then Sean Hannity did an entire segment on it for his primetime Fox News television show.

Soon thereafter, Butler University President Jim Danko sent out a campus-wide email titled “Affirming our Guiding Principles,” in which the president took care to explain that “inclusive language is encouraged and supported at Butler University.”

“Unfortunately, some responses we have received from individuals not associated with Butler University who read the article online have targeted various individuals at Butler in ways that have involved personal (verbal) attacks and hateful language,” Danko wrote. “We have taken care to ensure the safety and well being of those on our campus who have been the recipients of these responses.” Danko never contacted me, nor anyone involved in the editing or production of my article to my knowledge, to see if the hateful attacks extended in more than one direction.

Soon after Danko’s campus encyclical, I was called in for meetings with a professor, a department head, multiple college deans, and the provost of the university.

The Limbaugh Factor

Some of these meetings arose after Rush Limbaugh mentioned the story for a brief moment on his radio show. Rush may be the foulest four-letter word for some at Butler University, where people would mention his name to me in a hushed tone as if he were “He Who Must Not Be Named” from Harry Potter.

And while students and professors used his name as an obscenity, insult or punch line, his listeners reacted differently. One Butler alum and loyal Limbaugh devotee wrote the president and copied me on an email explaining that she was saddened to hear my story on his show, and relayed her own similar experience at Butler 32 years before.

“My sociology teacher at BU had called me a middle-class-brat when I wrote of my value system (work/pay/reward) growing up in southern Indiana,” the alumna wrote. “That part-time professor loudly pronounced his judgment on me in night class with his holier-than-thou reasoning, making me feel like a small freshman–I did not dare come back with a rebuttal.  I was frozen.  It was demeaning. … Thankfully, I had the power of perseverance and made it through the class AND pharmacy school.”

Soon after Rush discussed my story, more than 110 professors had drafted and disseminated their own critique of my work via an all-campus listerv.

“Support for such a view of education, as manifest in the criticism the professor and Butler University received in response to the piece, reminds us that we are all, professors and students alike, navigating in a challenging cultural moment, one that would define education as a commodity and dismiss efforts to establish inclusivity as “political correctness” rather than a worthy educational endeavor,” the letter explained in part.

The faculty then staged an “inclusivity teach-in” to protest my opinion and its existence on campus. I was not invited to the “inclusive” campus gathering and did not attend. According to The Butler Collegian’s Twitter feed, at least one professor called me a racist, while others questioned my character and one attendee suggested I had “plagiarized the syllabus.”

One student told me about his experience at the ‘teach-in’ without realizing I was the author of the piece in question (I waited until after he told me about his experience to let him know I was the author). The student explained that attendees at the event suggested I would “burn in hell” and “did not deserve to have any friends.” The student said he had attempted to speak out against the personal attacks against me as shameful, but was cut off by a member of the faculty.

Having learned of the planned rally just hours before it began, I decided to head to the gym—I figured it would be the last place I’d find any angry feminist professor.

Eventually the hostility directed at me seemed to subside as final exams fast approached. But as soon as the next semester began, the university continued its response to my article, even as I was off-campus completing a semester in Washington, D.C.

University Officials Double Down

As a response to my article in The College Fix, the university brought back “Founder’s Day.” The Founder’s Day event took place at the on-campus Starbucks and included readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, a speech by Frederick Douglass, and other speeches, according to The Butler Collegian. An associate professor told The Collegian such action was necessary because “the school needs a reminder of its values following the article written by Ryan Lovelace last year for The College Fix.”

But the Founder’s Day event did not conclude Butler’s response to my article. Instead, Butler continued to reward those who openly attacked me and my point of view. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences awarded a $1,000 prize to a student who entered the LAS essay contest writing against my work. The contest asked students to respond to the prompt, “Primed to Serve, a Benefit of a Liberal Arts Education,” and the winning student submitted an entry titled, “Bologna and Blogs: A Student’s Journey Towards Actualizing The Purpose of His Higher Education.” In the essay, the student framed the situation surrounding my article as “A professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences came under attack by a student.”

This student’s opinion was hardly new. Butler University’s website housed multiple blog posts by the same student about the situation titled, “Fixing College?” and “Fix College: The Real Problem is the Student.” The College Fix’s editor responded to the Butler University blog posts here.

While the university sponsored, rewarded, hosted and promoted content and programming that viewed my existence and thinking as reprehensible, I decided not to respond fearing retribution. The College Fix defended my article and helped me evaluate the situation, while some professors, students and friends at Butler advocated on behalf of allowing me to continue as a student at Butler. I am grateful for all of the support that I know allowed me to continue pursuing my college degree.Having graduated in May, I now feel comfortable explaining that my article was not written or meant as an ad hominem attack on any course, professor, or syllabus. Instead, my critique was directed at the Liberal Arts experience I encountered at Butler University.

I could have written about many other classes. A Spanish class I took screened a film portraying Che Guevara, the Marxist revolutionary, as a young man who fought to help the sick and impoverished. While the rest of the class did not appear to share my reaction of disgust, I suspect a similar film romanticizing Adolf Hitler’s life as a struggling painter in a German language class would have elicited a stronger reaction against such vile propaganda.

In another class, a professor called me into his office because he was displeased that I submitted a homework assignment that did not share his beliefs and concern for the trees being chopped down in the Amazon. He proceeded to lecture me for half an hour about why the class materials he selected were unbiased.

And I could continue with several other examples, but I chose to highlight the syllabus of a political science class in my article because it was a concrete example of bias in the Liberal Arts curriculum that could not be brushed off as an isolated anecdote or hearsay.

Standing Firm

I had hoped my article would encourage decision-makers on campus to consider the values of “inclusivity” and “diversity” as less about race, sexuality, and identity and more about welcoming contrasting points of view. I hoped Butler would listen to students with differing opinions and present multiple ways of thinking in the classroom without first evaluating students’ ethnicity or socio-economic background. This never happened at Butler. But it happens every day at The College Fix, where students offer opinions and uncover stories that campuses are unwilling, or else unable, to consider and cover.

Despite a few ups and downs, I enjoyed my time at Butler University and will always love being a Bulldog. Ultimately, I benefited from attending Butler—where I learned to speak up for my beliefs, even when those beliefs were unpopular—and I hope others will benefit even more so. I hold out hope that Butler will improve because I know many friends, teachers, and parents who have a vested interest in making Butler a better place to learn.

Ryan Lovelace is a 2014 graduate of Butler University. He was a 2013 College Fix Summer Fellow, and has recently been named the William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow in Political Journalism at National Review Institute.

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A University of Pennsylvania professor claims Republicans stand against late-term abortion because of a “fear of the end of whiteness.”

Newsmax reports:

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Tuesday to ban all abortions after 20 weeks of  pregnancy. It was seen as a symbolic vote since it is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate or be signed by President Barack Obama.

But discussing the vote on MSNBC recently, University of Pennsylvania professor Salamisha Tillet went a step further, suggesting racism motivates abortion opponents.

The white majority in America has been decreasing, Tillet noted, resulting in “a moral panic, a fear of the end of whiteness.”

She said Republican opposition to abortion is a response to that, and that “women’s bodies, white women’s bodies in particular, are a crucial way of reproducing whiteness, white supremacy, white privilege.”

So who is Tillet, and why should we care?

Tillet is shaping the hearts and minds of students through the classes she teaches as an associate professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also has a secondary appointment in the Department of Africana Studies and is a core teaching and faculty member of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies.

Young, impressionable minds hear Tillet’s point of view on race and gender all semester long, and it’s not a stretch to assume the opinions she proffered on national television are similar to the ones she gives inside her Africana and women’s studies classes. And then we wonder why the GOP is seen as bad guys by college-aged voters?

Interestingly enough, the counterpoint guest to Tillet was Kristen Powers, who “said Tillet’s argument made no sense, considering black women get 40 percent of the abortions in the United States despite the black population being only 13 percent,” Newsmax reported.

But do you think those stats make it inside Tillet’s classroom? Do we even have to ask?

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A few weeks ago, The College Fix broke the story about a course at Pasadena City College devoted entirely to porn. Fix contributor Jack Butler explained in his report:

First offered last spring, the class is a for-credit elective open to all students and does not require any prerequisites. In just one year, it’s come under national scrutiny after its instructor, Professor Hugo Schwyzer, invited a porn star to speak to its students.

But Schwyzer defended Navigating Pornography in an interview with The College Fix, calling the subject matter legitimate.

“(The course) focuses on giving students tools to understand pornography as a historical and contemporary phenomenon,” Schwyzer told The College Fix. “Students today live in a porn-saturated culture and very rarely get a chance to learn about it in a safe, non-judgmental, intellectually thoughtful way.”

The course doesn’t merely consist of viewing pornography. In fact, students do not view porn inside the classroom. Instead, they watch it on their own time as homework. Assignments include journals, a research paper, and a final exam, Schwyzer explained.

Mr. Butler’s report on this porn course attracted a lot of a attention in the new media, garnering links from The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post, Buzz Feed, and even got a mention from humor writer Dave Barry. The story went on to garner international attention, as with this report from Nación in Chile.

It’s a remarkable impact for a mere student journalist. But it’s the kind of thing we’re growing more and more used to here at The College Fix. Here are just a couple of further examples:

Contributor Ryan Lovelace’s report on his professor’s assertion that students must disregard their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status” when writing and speaking in the classroom garnered national attention and put Butler University administrators on the defensive.

Contributor Katie McHugh’s story about Allegheny College’s masturbation seminar held inside a campus chapel garnered links from Drudge, The Daily Mail of London, Fox News, and even provided material for a joke during Jay Leno’s opening monologue on The Tonight Show.

All jokes aside, our student reporters are shedding light on the appalling decline of academic standards in higher education, and they are doing the job of educating the public about the radical moral and political agendas polluting our colleges. In other words, they are reporting on stories that, oftentimes, would never see the light of day otherwise, if we had to rely on the mainstream media to inform us.

We are extremely proud of the investigative reporting our young writers, such as Mr. Butler, Mr. Lovelace, and Ms. McHugh, are doing–opposing the stifling liberal orthodoxy on our campuses, and giving voice to issues that are important to political conservatives, libertarians, people of faith–all the folks who are normally marginalized on our nation’s left-leaning college campuses.

As we near the end of another academic year–one that has been marked by explosive growth in readership for The College Fix, which has been visited by millions of readers already in 2013. Our non-stop stream of exclusive investigative articles that have shed light into the dark corners of elite liberal academia–and it’s all due to the hard work of our writers, who are juggling classes and sports and extracurricular activities in addition to their journalistic work.

I want to take a moment to recognize the excellent work of our student reporters. This site exists, foremost, to provide a platform for the conservative journalists of tomorrow. Here on these pages, talented students hone their skills and publish meaningful work long before they enter the professional world.

So here’s to our student contributors, who are doing so much today to inform the public of the truth on campus–and to their bright futures.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of Sex & God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

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Butler University is striking back at the student whose recent article exposing anti-male, anti-white, anti-heterosexual bias at the university has gained national attention.

In the original article, Ryan Lovelace, Butler student and Fix contributor, explained how he was presumed guilty of racism, sexism and homophobia when he enrolled in a political science class taught by a black female professor:

Butler University asks students to disregard their “American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status” when writing and speaking in the classroom – a practice the school’s arts and sciences dean defended as a way to negate students’ inherent prejudices…

Clearly, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University believes its students were raised as racist and misogynist homophobes who have grown to harbor many prejudices, a stance that is both offensive and hostile to any student’s ability to learn.

As a student at an institution predominantly focused on the liberal arts, I expected to hear professors express opinions different from my own. I did not expect to be judged before I ever walked through the door, and did not think I would be forced to agree with my teachers’ worldviews or suffer the consequences…

Presumably, Lovelace did not expect to be singled out and publicly criticized on his university’s website either, simply for expressing his views.

Penned by fellow student Andrew Erlandson, and published on the university admissions office blog, two articles on the university’s official website take aim at Lovelace for blowing the situation “out of proportion” and for failing to be “adaptable.”

One article, entitled “The Real Problem is the Student,” takes direct aim at Lovelace. “’To write and speak in a way that does not assume American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status, etc. to be the norm…’ is rather reasonable for a political science class,” the article states.

The university seems to have missed the point of Lovelace’s complaint, which had to do with presumption of guilt inherent in the above statement–as well as the hypocrisy behind the idea that American-ness, maleness, whiteness, etc. must be singled out as invalid in an academic world that creates entire departments dedicated to narrow world views such as black studies, chicano studies, women’s studies, or gay and lesbian studies.

The failure of left-wing academics to recognize the hypocrisy of continually talking about the need for “diversity” while simultaneously seeking to suppress or discredit people who happen fall outside the left’s list of favorite victim groups shows that diversity is the last thing on their minds. This is about class warfare, gender warfare, and perpetuating racial grievance.

Nevertheless, Lovelace’s article has helped focus national attention on the issue of liberal bias and reverse discrimination in the classroom. (See here, and here, and here, for just a few examples.) In so doing, Lovelace has advanced the true and proper goals of higher education, which are to advance knowledge and provide a forum for free academic expression–not to demonize white male heterosexual Americans or enforce speech codes.

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