A college lecturer gave a workshop at the University of Texas to warn students of the damaging effects of "white privilege." (Stefan Puchner/AFP/Getty Images)
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A retired professor, who hosted a workshop at the University of Texas on Saturday called "White Fragility: Understanding and Working Against White Privilege," spent three hours warning students of the damaging effects of "white privilege."
What was said?
● Dr. Robin DiAngelo, who is white, invented the term "white fragility" several years ago, which she defines as "a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves" in which white people become "irrational."
● During the lecture, DiAngelo asked all whites to come to the front of the room, where they were each asked to read quotes about their "internalized superiority, racial privilege, and other deficiencies as whites," according to The College Fix. DiAngelo then instructed attendees "not to clap" as the students took their seats.
● DiAngelo also told the participants her goal is “interrupting whiteness” because too often it goes “unmarked,” and people must “center it” so they can “expose” and remove it.
● Discussion groups in the workshop were challenged to answer things like, “How does whiteness manifest [in society],” “What is welcoming and affirming for white people here,” and “How do white people respond when the topic of racism comes up?” DiAngelo claimed whites engage in "white defensiveness" about racism because their opinions are usually "emotionally charged."
● Because this "white defensiveness" supposedly prevents whites from seeing their own racism clearly, DiAngelo said, "People of color understand what it means to be white more than I ever will.”
● DiAngelo called for more teachers of color to help combat "institutionalized oppression," because she said whites represent too great a percentage of teachers.
● Through the slideshow, white participants were asked to acknowledge that they couldn't understand their own inherent racism. "White people: What narratives have I used/moves I make to deny the impact of race on my life and present myself as 'getting it'? How does this narrative function in the conversation?"
Why does it matter?
This workshop is just one of many similar lectures being presented to young people on college campuses across the country. Earlier this year, the University of Iowa hosted a three-day workshop on white privilege, and Sam Houston State University offered an honors course during the 2017 summer and fall semester called "Understanding Whiteness."
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Sara Gonzales is the host of “The News & Why It Matters.”