For those of you who wonder why fewer and fewer people are getting advanced degrees in English, look no further than an institute offered by the Center for Writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.
Entitled, Antiracism in the Classroom: Beyond White Privilege the program, offered under the auspices of a writing center and taught by two people who appear to be quite white, is all about how every white person is a racist and how young white people are supposed to address this horrible crime.
The idea seems to be that being white is in and of itself a moral stain that must be constantly atoned for. This is what the taxpayers of Minnesota and those of in other states who pay federal taxes that support programs like this are subsidizing:
This Institute is intended for educators who want to develop their antiracist pedagogy and better understand themselves as racial beings. We focus on Whiteness at the personal, classroom, and systems level as the problem of racism. Through curated reading, writing, and discussion, we will move our learning communities beyond deadlocked conversations and toward more productive antiracist pedagogies. In this way, we will be better able to support young white people as they wrestle with what it means to be white in a white supremacist society. This work is applicable to anyone who works with youth or is in education.
Get it? Racism is not something that any human being can exhibit. It is all about whiteness. We can assume that “deadlocked conversations” would be old-fashioned notions of fairness and racial equality and understanding. Those ideas are not “productive.”
And how do we “support” young white people? By teaching them what it means to be white in “a white supremacist society.” Thus, racism is not a problem that resides in human hearts. Our entire society, say these two “facilitators,” is not sufficiently woke.
To give you an idea of the mindset of one of the two facilitators, we read this on his LinkedIn page:
I believe that education is about power, and that my explicit and implicit curricula can work to sustain or disrupt systems of power. As a teacher, I believe my role must be to help uncover oppressive power structures so that students might better recognize, understand, and dismantle these structures in their lives.
Beware, those of you who do not want your children to be indoctrinated, of “implicit curricula.”
This self-declared radical goes on:
I believe that all education is culturally situated, calling us to be mindful about whom we are recognizing with our pedagogy. I strive to attend to my straightness, whiteness, masculinity, and other areas of privilege as I engage with students so that they might better recognize themselves in our classroom materials and discourses regardless of what they bring to the table. Accordingly, I work hard to learn about my students’ families, backgrounds, and lives outside of school. I’ve found that knowing the context of my students’ lives allows me insight into what obstacles and advantages their lives outside of the classroom might afford them, to say nothing of the reward of meaningful relationships with young people.
So, here we have a heterosexual white guy who seems to think that because he is those things, he is living a life of shame and needs to make sure that everyone like him feels the same.
Imagine that you were the parent of a student in this man’s class. Given his expressed eagerness to generate feelings of guilt and moral criminality in his students, this part is worrisome, “I work hard to learn about my students’ families, backgrounds, and lives outside of school.” The better to attack anything that sounds remotely bourgeois or discernibly white in that student’s life, presumably.
The major problem with the “antiracism” movement is how it has conflated the fact that white people exist and that inequality and injustice do too with the idea that every single aspect of American society is infected with white supremacism. Thus, the need for “facilitators” who make good livings off of pairing up, in this case, a white guy who doesn’t like being white and a white woman who is into yoga and who teaches white children how awful their parents are even as she:
accompanies people to a more centered, whole, and embodied self
Isn’t that sweet.
The goal is to train white teachers and community members on how to make their young charges detest the society that the trainers despise.
And keep in mind that these programs are self-perpetuating and are designed to provide job security for people for whom crying racism is highly lucrative.
We are told that one of the goals of the institute is to enable attendees:
To articulate the balance of personal, classroom, and structural investigations of white supremacy to sustain life-long and multidimensional antiracist action.
Notice that the goal is not to work toward equality but to devote one’s life towards labeling absolutely everything at every level as white supremacy. Could anything be more divisive? Or depressing?
Why have I focused today on this particular institute? Because it is emblematic of the whole anti-racist enterprise in that we have a psychobabbling white woman and a white guy who wants to be a sort of woke Lenin taking money from taxpayers to teach white children that everything their families have, everything any member of their family has accomplished is tainted by racism and that every white child is a tiny white supremacist. Pretty poisonous.
What any of this has to do with a writing center at a public university is beyond me. (Can’t you just hear the facilitators saying that I am clearly inhibited in my openness to antiracist possibilities…)
The tragedy of all of this is that the only beneficiaries of this racist racket are the white progressives who lead such trainings.