Another day, another race “expert” lecturing white people on their racism and what they need to do about it — this time at Emory University.
On October 17, Emory’s George Yancy, a philosophy professor whose areas of research include the “Critical Philosophy of Race” and “Critical Whiteness Studies” (naturally), lectured his white Emory peers on their “inherent racism” and the necessity of recognizing their “white privilege.”
As reported by the Emory Wheel, Yancy noted that in his classes he does a twist on “safe spaces” — he creates what he dubs “dangerous spaces” — but only for white students. That’s because, he says, “whiteness is often considered the ‘norm’ in society” and “many white students have never had to think of themselves as different or problematic.” )One can only imagine if a professor attempted that with any other racial/ethnic group.)
But do not worry: The prof says he’s “not to make white people feel guilty”; he just wants them “to acknowledge their inherent racism and fight actively against it.”
Oh, well, OK then!
Yancy encouraged professors who don’t teach classes that focus explicitly on identity and race to look at the dynamics in their classrooms and call out implicit instances of white privilege when they see them. He also recommended including works from people of color in class when possible to challenge the typical all-white narrative.
To further illustrate his argument, Yancy compared his idea of being an anti-racist racist to sexism. Although he does not intentionally try to oppress or objectify women, he is a sexist by virtue of being a male, Yancy said.
“My argument is that at the end of the day the best that I can be is an anti-sexist sexist. I fight against sexism everyday of my life, to the best that I can,” Yancy said. “The best that [a white person] can become is an anti-racist racist.”
Yancy added that he seeks to challenge his students to think about whiteness as “strange” rather than the “norm” and argued that sometimes-traumatic discussions regarding racism help break apart the narratives of white superiority. Yancy said that having difficult conversations is necessary and crucial to understanding racism and what it means to be white in America.
Yancy’s work formed the basis for Fairfield University professor Kris Sealey’s discussion of race in college classrooms at a diversity conference this past June. As reported by The College Fix, Sealey — who’s taught courses titled “Black Lives Matter” and “Critical Race Theory” — channeled Yancy’s book “Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race” stating “any inquiry into the experience of blackness must include some genealogy or some history of the white gaze.”
“[T]he goal is to understand the role of the white gaze in the confiscation of the black body,” she said.
Professor Yancy wrote in a 2013 op-ed that the white gaze is “hegemonic” and includes “poisonous assumptions and bodily perceptual practices,” and sees “the black male body as different, deviant, ersatz.”