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Community college holds white privilege symposium on power and advantage in US

Yusef Salaam will be e keynote speaker at the event. He was one of five men wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in Central Park in New York City, New York, in 1989. Their convictions were overturned in 2002 after being proven innocent. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A Massachusetts community college will host a white privilege symposium this weekend, The College Fix reported.

“White privilege doesn’t mean you necessarily had every advantage,” Laurie Carlson, English professor and chair of North Shore Community College’s Forums on Tolerance, told the Daily Item. "It doesn’t mean you haven’t suffered, you haven’t been poor, or you haven’t been through hardships. It just means those hardships were not based on the color of your skin.”

The two-day event, “Power, Privilege, and Progress: Awareness to Action: A White Privilege Symposium“ will be held Friday and Saturday at North Shore Community College in East Lynn, Massachusetts.

Hosted by The Privilege Institute, the American Association of University Women-North Shore Area Branch, and NSCC’s Forum on Tolerance, the event claims it will be "an engaging learning experience that creates dialogue on the issues of privilege and power in the history of the United States," according to the Daily Item.

“There will always be people who will say white privilege doesn’t exist, which is another reason to have the symposium,” Carlson said.

What are the details?

Workshops will explore topics such as "How Do We Respond?: Navigating and Confronting White Privilege," "Unpacking the N!gga(er) Word: Is There a Message in The Madness?" and "Constructive White Conversations."

Another workshop will be dedicated to playing a downloadable board game called Road to Racial Justice.

"Players will become more aware that racism exists in many everyday situations (interpersonal and institutional), learn why the situations are racist (stereotyping, tokenism, cultural appropriation, etc.), and acquire tools to interrupt these kinds of situations," according to the game's description on its website.

The game provides situation cards that describe an incident of racism. Players respond to the situation to move their markers toward the finish line.

"The mascot for your school's football team is a person dressed up as a warlike Native American," one situation card reads.

Three response options are provided or the player can "think up another action" to share. One response reads, "Tell the coach, 'There would be an uproar if the mascot were Jewish or African American, and there shouldn't be Native American mascots, either.'"

There are bonus cards in the game, too.

"Read out loud: I competed in this year's National Poetry Slam with a powerful poem on the injustice of a person being stopped by a police officer, time after time, for no good reason," the card reads. "Now there's less poison in the air from racism. Move ahead 1 space."

Other workshops, including “The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys” and “Ten Reasons Why America Can’t Talk about Race," will be offered.

Among the weekend's keynote speakers are Jacqueline Battalora, the author of "Birth of a White Nation" and Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five.

Salaam who was one of five teens wrongfully convicted of rape in 1990. He was exonerated in 2002 after he served more than six years in prison.

What else?

The cost of the event is $75 for adults, $50 for students, and free for North Shore Community College students, but organizers won't turn away people who can't afford to pay, according to the Daily Item.

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