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University program teaches faculty and staff how they ‘support racism and white supremacy’

‘Boise State to faculty and staff: Come learn how white people are racists’

Boise State University has rolled out a new “book circle” for faculty and staff focused on white privilege in an attempt to “dig deep into ourselves to explore the ways in which we all, as individuals, sometimes unknowingly, support racism and white supremacy,” the university’s website states.

The book circle is hosted by the Gender Equity Center and the Center for Teaching and Learning and is centered on the book “What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy” by Robin DiAngelo, a “white fragility” expert who speaks at college campuses nationwide.

While the program is open to “folks of all racial identities,” the website states, “the primary audience of this book [is] people who are interested in unpacking white identity and how white folks distance themselves from conversations about race, as well as learning how to engage white folks in recognizing their privilege.”

“We will dig deep into ourselves to explore the ways in which we all, as individuals, sometimes unknowingly, support racism and white supremacy,” the university’s website states.

The book circle is scheduled to meet weekly for a total of seven sessions, and began September 12. Participants must purchase their own book and were required to fill out an application to sign up.

The College Fix reached out to university spokesperson George Thoma, who declined to comment, and did not respond to further correspondence.

The book circle was first reported on by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which headlined its report: “Boise State to faculty and staff: Come learn how white people are racists.”

“DiAngelo is an academic who claims all white people, including herself, are inherently racist. Claiming you’re not racist makes you a racist, or so she contends. And white people suffer from what she terms ‘white fragility’—an unwillingness to admit and talk about their own intolerance,” the foundation’s Wayne Hoffman reported.

An Idaho Freedom Foundation representative did not respond to requests seeking further comment on this issue.

Those who participate in the book circle may earn credit toward the university’s BUILD certificate program, which stands for Boise State Uniting for Inclusion and Leadership in Diversity.

Other programs listed on the certificate program include “Inclusive Teaching Means Inclusive Grading, Too,” “Implicit Bias in the Academic Workplace,” and “How Accessible Is Your Syllabus?”

The university also hosted Ta-Nehisi Coates on Oct. 7 for a guest discussion.

MORE: White privilege on campus

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About the Author
John Rigolizzo is a junior at Rutgers University, studying English and history. In addition to The College Fix, he is an avid writer. He is the author of the book "I Am Sentinel," available on Amazon, and runs the politics blog "Ardent Individualist."  

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