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University training guide suggests white males ‘cannot be oppressed’

Campus official defends as ‘intentionally provocative’

An excerpt from an online training guide for Northeastern University’s Resident Assistants suggests that white males cannot be oppressed.

“Men cannot be oppressed as men, just as whites cannot be oppressed as whites” and “for a male to experience oppression they would also need to be a person of color, gay, disabled or in a lower social class,” states a screenshot of training materials for Northeastern University’s Resident Assistants, or peer leaders who supervise residence halls or dorms.

“They cannot be oppressed simply because they are male,” it added.

The “The Umbrella of Oppression” screenshot was posted recently to Reddit’s “TumblrInAction,” a community within the user-driven, social media website that specializes in criticizing political correctness and overbearing social justice occurring online and in the real world.

The anonymous Reddit poster claimed they received the image from a current RA at the school, a private and prestigious research-based university in Boston.

Asked to explain why the university teaches within its RA training that white males cannot be oppressed, Renata Nyul, a spokesperson for Northeastern University, said in an email to The College Fix that “the text the blog you’re citing referenced an excerpt completely out of context.”

“Training for RAs includes discussion of intentionally provocative articles and statements,” Nyul added. “This material is designed to kickstart spirited conversations, which is the lifeblood of any academic institution. No one should presume that these statements represent the position of the university or its administration.”


The Interim Director of Northeastern’s residential life staff, Brie McCormick, did not respond to several emails from The College Fix seeking additional context on the nature of the training materials.

The post was made on Aug. 13, and since then many Reddit users commented on the screenshot with resentment and outrage, a reaction not unexpected within the TumblrInAction community.

“By stating that ‘men/white people cannot be oppressed’ in official, university-sponsored and -approved training material, this creates (one could argue) a hostile environment based upon sex and race which is evident from a plain reading of the material,” stated one comment.

Said another: “I’m a current student, and I can tell you that this [BS] gives our school a pretty bad name, but I would doubt that something like this would actually influence policy that much. Everybody here is pretty down to earth and I’ve never run into any crazy SJW [Social Justice Warrior] types here in 2.5 years.”

The materials come to light at a time when more and more left-leaning academics assert that white privilege is a real and pressing concern for young people to address. For example, in June, a Rutgers lecturer stated that “there are no good white people…only less bad white people” on Twitter.

Some students also enforce this ideology. A contingent from Duke University used an op-ed to challenge white Americans to “confront the reality that you are complicit in a racist society.”

The topic of white privilege also made its way into homes around the world when MTV this summer aired “White People” and asked viewers to undergo a “seven-day racial bias cleanse.”

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About the Author
Jason Weaver -- University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.