Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, with the beginning of the spring semester in full swing, plans to operate a “safe space” in the fall of 2019 for recovering white people to admit that they are, by virtue of being white, anti-black racists. Only whites are welcome in these meetings, where students can confess to their racism and their white privilege. Note that it is presumed that being racist is simply part of Caucasian DNA, and since “students of color” can’t be racist, they have no need to go to such meetings.
Vincent Flewellen, chief diversity officer (and by virtue of his being the “chief” officer of diversity at Webster University, it is obvious that there are multiple staff involved in such work, which explains partly why tuition continues to rise at American colleges and universities) is developing a program, based on a book entitled Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It.
In an interview with NBC, Flewellen explained why he believes there is a need for the program (beyond justifying his job, one presumes). He said he wants white people to stop calling the police on black people “just because they’re gathering in a park.”
The program to get whites to talk about their racism was developed by a local Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). On the group’s website is a document explaining why they contend that a “White Space” is needed — a white space with no “people of color” present.
First of all, “People of color shouldn’t always have to be the ones to educate white people about racism and oppression,” they explain. “We [white people] are taking responsibility for learning about racism, our own white privilege, and how to challenge it as white people.”
Second, “In order to challenge racism and dismantle white supremacy, white people need to unlearn racism and discover the ways we enact white privilege.” The author[s] of the White Space paper admit, “This is a long, difficult, and sometimes painful process,” but it is necessary, they argue, to have other white people conduct the process, “without having to always subject people of color to further undue trauma or pain as we stumble and make mistakes.”
Third, they argue that such a view often places them into conflict with other whites who are not ready to admit their racism and white privilege. “A commitment to anti-racist identity and practice as a white person can sometimes mean increased alienation and conflict in our lives, especially with other white friends and family who disagree with us.” You know, your white family members who are not yet aware that they are just racist by nature.
Fourth, “It’s a space for white people to figure out what it means to be an anti-racist white person and challenge racism in all areas of our lives.” In other words, like the alcoholic who knows that he is still an alcoholic, just one who has managed to quit drinking, the anti-racist white person must understand that even these ardent “anti-racist” whites still harbor latent racism.
Fifth, “It’s a place where white people can begin to build a new culture of white anti-racism, and learn the skills needed to transform the larger white community.” This is reminiscent of a parable of Jesus in which the Pharisee thanks God that he is not like the sinners in society.
While the meetings in which whites learn how to purge themselves of their racism, white privilege, and feelings of white supremacy are all important, they argue that they still need to interact with non-whites. “This group is a supplement to, not a replacement for, multi-racial dialogues and activism between white people and people of color.” This is because it is important that white people “give space in their lives to learning from and bearing witness to people of color’s experiences of racism.”
Finally, a “white space serves as a resource to people of color who want to work with white people but don’t want to have to spend all their energy dealing with the racism of white people.”
If this were the only institution of higher learning in which such anti-white bigotry was being subsidized by the taxpayer, it might be amusing. But such taxpayer-paid denigration of people simply because of their skin color is widespread. For example, California State University-San Marcos if offering courses in “white privilege.” Another class, “The Communication of Whiteness” purports to review ideas involving “whiteness as a discursive (communicative) construct and the key role that communication plays in the construction of whiteness.”
A math education professor at the University of Illinois, Rochelle Gutierrez, has even argued that teachers must understand that skills in algebra and geometry buttress “unearned” white privilege. “Are we really that smart just because we do mathematics?” Gutierrez asked. She offers as examples of the connection between mathematics and “white privilege” the use of such terms as the Pythagorean Theorem and pi “perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks and other Europeans.”
Another concern of Gutierrez’s is that math professors are given more research grants than “social studies” or English professors. Of course, this could be something called the law of supply and demand — in other words, the free market at work. With specialization, the overall wealth of society is elevated. Not everyone can excel in math, or even desires to. While there may be more persons with white skin in the field of math, there are many white people not any good at math, and better suited for another field.
The alternative to the free market is, of course, a command economy. Rather than letting individuals choose their own field, based on their own desires and abilities, these people want a society in which social planners, such as themselves, make those decisions.
This type of activity is divisive, and perpetuates racism more than it reduces it. Telling “people of color” that all human beings with white skin are racists by nature is hardly comforting to a black person. Fomenting division in society, long a tactic of the Left — young vs. old, rich vs. poor, men vs. women, Jews vs. Christians — helps in their goal, as former President Barack Obama put it in 2008, to “fundamentally transform” American society.