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Prof who believes whites are ‘inherently racist’ leads panel on religion and racial equity

The Emory University professor who lectured his white peers about their “inherent racism” recently led a virtual discussion about religion’s role in racial equity.

George Yancy, whose research specialties are full of the “critical” — Critical Philosophy of Race, Critical Whiteness Studies and Critical Phenomenology — was the keynote speaker for “Racial Equity & Religions,” sponsored by the Duquesne (University) Interfaith Student Organization and the Consortium for Christian Muslim Dialogue.

According to The Duquesne Duke, Yancy, a Duquesne alum, told attendees “If Black lives really mattered to white people, and especially religious white people […] I desire to see white rage against itself, its own white power and privilege and its complicity with white supremacy.

“I would like to see their white rage overflow in the streets of this nation shouting, ‘My whiteness is a lie.’”

Representatives of several religions then offered their views on how racial equity aligns with their beliefs. According to the speakers, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam all advocate the promotion of anti-racism. Rona Kaufman Kitchen, who spoke about Judaism, said “[W]e have a responsibility in America to be partners with other minorities who are experiencing really severe racism in the United States.”

Last month Yancy penned an open letter to Duquesne’s black students titled “Duquesne Univ. has a whiteness problem.” His main target was Professor Gary Shank, who had used the N-word in a educational context and eventually was fired.

“Had Shank been better educated about his whiteness, and about how the structure of whiteness functions as a site of willful ignorance, he would have understood that using the N-word, as he did, was not just about poor judgment or ‘misguided behavior,’ but was selfish, pedagogically incompetent, and violent,” Yancy wrote.

Indeed, Yancy asserted that “anti-Black racism” is often disguised as “pedagogical permission” and “free speech.” (Duquesne eventually agreed to rehire Shankif he agreed to a seven-month suspension without pay and to attend diversity training.)

Yancy is the author of “Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race” the description of which notes the professor “demonstrates that the Black body is a historically lived text on which whites have inscribed their projections which speak equally forcefully to whites’ own self-conceptions.”

Read the Duke article and full Yancy open letter.

MORE: Prof uses Yancy to teach about ‘the problem that is whiteness’

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 15 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.