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Davidson College forces athletes to watch ‘only whites are racist’ video
Anti-racist video shown at Davidson College

Alumni demand change, institution defends showing

Davidson College alumni are calling for change after student athletes recently were required to watch the video “I’m Not Racist … Am I?” which labels all white people as racists.

The Davidsonians for Freedom of Thought and Discourse, an alumni-run free speech organization, exposed and denounced the video after learning the North Carolina institution forced student athletes to watch it this semester.

Notably, “in one clip of the film that we uncovered, is the unequivocal repetition that all white people are racist, and people of color cannot be racist,” the organization told The College Fix in a statement via email last week.

“The students with whom we have spoken about this film found it offensive, divisive, and personally insulting,” the organization stated.

Moreover, the athletic department opted to show the film on a Sunday afternoon instead of normal school hours, according to the organization. Students “were disappointed that the Athletic Department would compel them to participate in this event for over three hours on a Sunday afternoon,” the group told The Fix.

Primarily, the Davidsonians said they are concerned with the compulsory nature of the viewing.

“Again, DFTD does not object to discussions among teammates or anyone on any topic, including weaponized definitions of racism. Compelling them to do so, guided only by the extremist views of the film producer, is a hazardous way to go about it,” the group said in its statement provided to The Fix.

The free speech organization also expressed concerns that the viewing could facilitate conflict among student athletes.

“Will those teammates classified as ‘the oppressed’ and ‘the oppressor’ continue to trust and respect each other?” the group said.

“We were concerned that the endorsement of such a film by the Athletic Department could signal to the scholar-athletes what views the institution does, and does not require, and thus have a silencing effect on them,” the group said.

The group pointed to a survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression that indicated 66 percent of Davidson students “regularly avoid informed dissent in the classroom.”

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In response to the video and other concerns, the organization started a petition late last month to advocate for student’s rights and oppose future instances of ideological oppression.

The petition also points to “numerous” class syllabi containing “controversial ‘anti-oppression’ behaviors unrelated to the course subject” as another cause for concern. These included Spanish 101, multivariable calculus, and cell biology classes, according to the organization.

“Some of these anti-oppression statements make sweeping demands that students ‘actively identify and confront oppressive behaviors,’” according to the petition.

Additionally, the syllabi include statements like “We can only identify how power and privilege play out when we are conscious and committed to understanding how white supremacy, patriarchy, classism, heterosexism, cisgenderism, ableism, and all other systems of oppression affect each of us,” the group found.

“… understand and embrace that you will feel discomfort and pain as you face your part in oppression,” another class syllabus obtained by the group states.

Davidson College defended the video and syllabi in an emailed statement to The Fix on March 5.

“Students encounter many ideas, perspectives, and beliefs about the world at college, and even though a reading or event is assigned, that does not mean that anyone at the college expects students to agree with every idea they encounter,” the statement said. “Learning – and teamwork – is about exploring different ideas, countering with better ones, and expanding knowledge.”

However, the free speech organization said the college’s “anti-oppression directives obviously run counter” to its stated commitment to freedom of expression.

The organization said its leaders “will continue to work with students, faculty, and administration to ensure that Davidson supports a healthy, robust civil discourse environment that is tolerant of diverse ideologies.”

MORE: Davidson College suspends Chick-fil-A

IMAGE: “I’m Not Racist… Am I?” website/The Calhoun School

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Will Caldwell is a student at Wisconsin Lutheran College studying political science and history. He is involved with College Republicans and interned for Senator Ron Johnson.