Another college discussion on the concept of “whiteness” took place late last month, this time at the University of Notre Dame.
Part of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies’ “Walk the Walk Week,” the event — titled “Confronting Whiteness at Notre Dame: Power, Identity, and Exclusion” — labeled whiteness a “social and political construct that harms the university community.”
According to The Irish Rover, discussion moderator David Anderson Hooker — who holds the ridiculous title of “professor of Practice of Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding” — began by stating “The illusion of whiteness as related to racial categorization disguises what is actually most important… namely, white is a description of both a political condition and a mechanism for the distribution of power. While it has real relation to the concept of racism, the two don’t squarely overlap.”
Hooker reminded the audience he wasn’t referring to the kind “repulsive, violent manifestation of whiteness” practiced by the likes of Richard Spencer, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, and the Covington Catholic School(!!) as they’re “easily denounced.”
He said we have to look at “the forms that actually are in operation and have a way of equally damaging the environment in which we exist.”
[Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the City of South Bend Christina] Brooks stated that minorities have been placed into a submissive role by society’s structure of whiteness, saying, “Non-whiteness has been given a support role to whiteness—a role that must be played in spaces where you encounter those in perpetual oblivion of power.”
Brooks argued that institutions, including Notre Dame, are corrupted by racial biases, saying, “Give up the lie that most existing systems and institutions are meritoriously fair. And those who fail to succeed in them always do so because of some inferior identity trait, giving us permission to remain oblivious to the truth and impact of bias, conscious and unconscious: racism, discrimination, and stereotypes.”
Ph.D. Student of Sociology Emmanuel Cannady said, “Black folks, you know what whiteness is because it is thrown in your face. All day, every day, you endure it…. We’re confronting a system of domination.”
“What do those structures look like today?” Cannady asked. “We don’t have Jim Crow anymore, but we do have structures of domination…. Mainly how it manifests and is deeply entrenched in ourselves, it exists in implicit biases.”
“We know this is systemic,” Cannady said, “because it isn’t just white people that uphold these systems. People of color also uphold systems of oppression. It’s not just white officers that are shooting unarmed black men. It is black police officers that are doing the same thing.”
At the question and answer session near the end of the event, a white man with a foreign accent was given the microphone and had begun to introduce himself … when he was interrupted by Notre Dame Africana Studies and Political Science professor Dianne Pinderhughes yelling “White privilege!”
The audience cheered.
Apparently Pinderhughes had had her hand up, you see: “Sorry, I need the mic. I can’t do it. I cannot do it! Sorry, but I had to. My hand had been up.”