'White shaming' is new rage on college campuses
An assistant professor at the University of Iowa who pledged to expose her students to “their own white ignorance” in a “peer-reviewed academic journal” was stunned and appalled that she was, well, criticized for it.
Jodi Linley, a white education instructor, wrote that her goal was to make her “mostly white” graduate students keenly aware of their “white privilege” and use her classroom to “deconstruct whiteness.” If she did otherwise, she explained, it would make her “complicit” in perpetrating white supremacy.
“For white students,” she wrote, “talking about race with an all-white group of peers … [reveals] their own white ignorance.”
Linley said her commitment to designing classes that fight white privilege began as soon as she became a professor in 2014, at which point she resolved to “develop courses that both unveiled and rejected” the notion that “neutrality and objectivity are realistic and attainable.”
“As a white assistant professor of mostly white graduate students who will become higher education leaders, I work to dismantle whiteness in my curriculum, assignments and pedagogy,” Linley explained, noting that in addition to her “white identity,” she also draws on her “identities as a queer, able-bodied, cisgender woman” with a working-class background to construct her “teaching paradigm.”
She offered up five strategies other professors can use to deconstruct white privilege in their own classes, such as making sure students know that their views on race will be challenged, “interrupting oppression” that occurs in classroom settings, and segregating students by race so they can have more productive dialogues about privilege.
“For white students, talking about race with an all-white group of peers facilitates their realization that they are raced beings, thus revealing their own white ignorance,” Linley asserted as justification for segregating students during some discussions.
Perhaps Linley and her university thought the paper would be a groundbreaking work that would be met with universal praise. However, it was widely criticized on social media, and she received some negative email.
She and her university described that reaction as being “targeted, harassed and threatened.”
Daniel Clay, dean of the College of Education, expressed horror over the criticism, issuing this statement:
“Recently, one of our faculty members was singled out for publishing a peer-review article on race issues in higher education. This faculty member was targeted, harassed, and threatened by many people from around the country through email, phone calls, and social media.
“As the dean of our University of Iowa College of Education, I want to affirm that we welcome all students, faculty, and staff of all races and backgrounds. We work hard to create an inclusive environment that cultivates respect and appreciation for everyone. The University of Iowa is also strongly committed to freedom of expression and the First Amendment, and that extends to students, faculty and staff.”
Apparently, however, the commitment to freedom of expression and the First Amendment does not apply to dissenting opinions expressed in emails and on social media.
As college students begin returning to campus this week, they can expect similar coursework all across America.
Last year, Portland Community College devoted an entire month to “whiteness” shaming.
This summer, an assistant professor at Georgia State University published an academic journal article lamenting the “insidiousness of silence and whiteness” on college campuses.
And last spring, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee called for complete “abolition of whiteness,” saying only then will America see an end to racism.
The professors had one thing in common. They are all white.
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