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College gets grant to establish ‘White Racial Literacy Project’

Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has received a $25,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation “to disrupt racism” on its campus.

The catalyst for the award was last year’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. IUPUI Education Professor Lori Patton-Davis told WTTV-4 she plans to use the racial justice and equity grant to “shift the culture” on campus.

“We had the idea to do something that brought white people into a conversation about race. And not in a way that is attacking them or to promote guilt but to really engage in genuine dialogue about racism on campus and helping them to identify their stake in improving the campus,” she said.

The title of this idea? The “White Racial Literacy Project.”

“I don’t want a white person to feel like they can’t express what they want to say because a black woman is in the room. I want them to be honest and candid and be able to engage in dialogues to disrupt some of the thinking I think is responsible for the racial climate on campus,” Patton-Davis said. …

Patton-Davis says it’s time to shift the focus of how racism is addressed.

“Most of the time it’s about how do we support the students who are feeling uncomfortable or feeling attacked and targeted. Yes, that’s important. We need to do that. But we also need to address the ideology and mindset that creates a space where these students don’t feel comfortable.”

Grad student Vandana Pawa thinks the Project is a good idea because of “subtle comments that your [sic] hear in the library,” or the making fun of international students’ accents.

“A lot of things that happen passively that you kind of just let happen until at some point you just kind of realize this is happening a lot and you don’t really know what to do about it,” Pawa said.

According to its website, the Lumina Foundation has so far given out some $1.6 million in “racial justice and equity” grants.

The IUPUI White Racial Literacy Project is slated to start in the fall. WTTV-4’s report notes the college is “adding additional funds to the grant” but doesn’t state the amount. The College Fix sent an inquiry to IUPUI but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Read the full article.

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