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Privileged people include Christians, men, whites: Iowa State University training document

‘Our world has been ordered and structured on the basis of skin color and that oppressive ordering and structuring is RACISM’

A training document provided to freshmen orientation leaders at Iowa State University tells them that the world is racist and also provided information on who the most oppressive and privileged people are.

Furthermore, it’s not just the United States that is a bastion of racism and privilege, according to the public university, it is the entire world.

“Our world has been ordered and structured on the basis of skin color and that oppressive ordering and structuring is RACISM,” the handout said.

A university spokesperson told The College Fix it was available for use by orientation leaders.

“The information on privilege was included in a section of optional additional resources for Destination Iowa State team leaders,” spokesperson Angie Hunt told The Fix via email. “It was not a required or mandatory part of the training for team leaders, and was not used in the orientation programing for Destination Iowa State participants.”

Hunt said that team leaders could use it in their preparation.

Training for Destination Iowa State focuses on team leadership and program logistics to prepare team leaders to welcome new students and help them transition to Cyclone life,” Hunt said. “Organizers provide several resources to help students engage on these topics, which are regularly reviewed and updated.”

Topics include straight white men being privileged

Destination Iowa State team leaders who utilized the resource would learn that white people, Christians, men and heterosexuals number among the most privileged.

“Privilege operates on personal, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels and gives advantages, favors, and benefits to members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups,” the handout said. Privileged people in the United States include “White people,” “Heterosexuals,” “Christians,” “Men,” and “ English-speaking people.” The handout also criticizes the concept of a meritocracy.

Privileged people “often believe that they have earned the privileges that they enjoy or that everyone could have access to these privileges if only they worked to earn them,” the handout said. “In fact, privileges are unearned and they are granted to people in the dominant groups whether they want those privileges or not, and regardless of their stated intent.”

People in the “dominant groups” often do not even know or recognize their own privilege.

Because of this ignorance, according to the document, privileged people become “agents of oppression.”

The oppressors “knowingly or unknowingly exploit and reap unfair advantage over members of groups that are targets of oppression.” These oppressive groups “are also trapped by the system of institutionalized oppression that benefits them and are confined to roles and prescribed behaviors.”

Black people cannot be racist against privileged white people, the university handout says. While any race can harbor prejudice against another race group, “[o]nly members of the dominant social group can exhibit racism.”

While the university’s materials preach against oppression, some of its definitions may not even suit the most liberal of social justice activists.

The handout, which appears to use definitions from a 2003 antiracism seminar, subscribes to the biologically realistic and true sex binary.

The term gender “[r]efers to those rules, norms, customs, and practices by which biologically associated differences between the male and female of the human species are translated into socially constructed differences between men and women, boys and girls which give them unequal value, opportunities and life chances,” the university’s document said.

MORE: Iowa State rejects journalism professor demand to ban College Republicans

IMAGE: Motortion Films/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Jeremy Hill is a student at Boyce College. He is studying philosophy, politics and economics.