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White Mythologies' college course says 'objectivity' and 'meritocracy' are 'social constructions

A “White Mythologies" college course offered this spring declared that “objectivity” and “meritocracy” are "social constructions" which reflect "whiteness" and "the West." (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

A “White Mythologies" college course offered this spring declared that “objectivity” and “meritocracy” are "social constructions" that reflect "whiteness" and "the West."

The course description (page 78) of “White Mythologies: Objectivity, Meritocracy, and Other Social Constructions” at Hobart and William Smith Colleges reads as follows:

This course explores the history and ongoing manifestations of "white mythologies" — long-standing, often implicit views about the place of White, male, Euro-American subjects as the norm against which peoples of the world are to be understood and judged. Students will explore how systematic logics that position "the West" and "whiteness" as the ideal manifest through such social constructions as objectivity, meritocracy, and race, and as justifications for colonial interventions, slavery, and the subordination of women.

Sociology professor Kendralin Freeman and anthropology professor Jason Rodriguez taught the 1-credit bidisciplinary course at the Geneva, New York, school.

Neither Freeman or Rodriguez responded to a request for more information from Campus Reform, but the outlet noted the pair coauthored an article in the journal of Whiteness and Education.

What else have the professors espoused?

Titled "'Your focus on race is narrow and exclusive:' the derailment of anti-racist work through discourses of intersectionality and diversity," the 2016 article argued that "discourses of 'diversity' and 'intersectionality' can ... protect white privilege ... marginalize people of color [and] undermine efforts to address racism."

The article was based on an account of "anti-racist" efforts at a "small liberal arts college" that the authors said resulted in "intersectional arguments and calls for 'diversity'" that actually "re-centered whiteness and situated discussions about race as exclusionary dialogues that victimized white subjects."

"We argue that this reflects the growing dominance of understanding racism as something that white subjects experience as much as people of color, which has emerged alongside a discourse of 'diversity' that compels a focus on individualized difference rather than structural inequity," the article abstract also said.

How else has Hobart and William Smith Colleges grabbed headlines?

The Rev. Michael B. Curry — who gave the sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last month — is a 1975 graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the Associated Press reported.

Curry is the 27th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the AP noted, and the first black leader of the denomination. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr. and black spirituals at the wedding during what the outlet called "a lively address that contrasted with the solemn approach the royal family is used to. Curry's style inspired a few quizzical glances and rave reviews."

Rev. Michael Curry at last month's royal wedding (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Here's Curry talking about his sermon on "The View":

Curry also spoke at a Washington, D.C., interdenominational church service called "Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis" in May that ended with a candlelight vigil across from the White House, the National Catholic Reporter said.

He called the event a "Pentecostal moment" and "whipped the crowd into a fervor" with calls to "love your neighbor, love the neighbor you like and the neighbor you don't like," the paper reported.

"Love the neighbor you agree with and the neighbor you don't agree with, love your Democrat neighbor, love your Republican neighbor, your black neighbor, your white neighbor," Curry added, according the National Catholic Reporter, which said the "congregation rose to its feet and applauded wildly."

Other speakers at the event included progressive pastor Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, the paper noted. Wallis in 2016 decried then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric and said "racism is in the air we breathe."

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