Friday, March 27, 2009

White Privilege: Teaching Race at The University of Delewar

For a long time I debated myself on writing on the topic of white privilege. Did I really have the skill to describe and debate such an important and complex topic? Did I really want to get into all of that? I could keep a whole blog for a long time on just the topic of white privilege. Recently, with all the talk of living in a post-race society now that we have a black president, and with the current discussion here at LC21 and over on Free Racine, I decided that this was an important topic. However, how would I bring it up? I pondered this for a while until I stumbled onto the clips that I have posted below.

I found these clips posted at an apparently conservative blog called Founding Bloggers. It's an infomercial/PSA about a former University of Delaware residential life orientation program that was essentially exposing students to the concept of white privilege. In the videos, members of trustee boards are warned not to let similar programs destroy the reputations of their schools. If you live in the Philadelphia media market, you may remember this story.

Now, of course, I have my own opinion on this. If you follow my blog you can probably guess that I agree with the basic aim of the residential life program, although I wouldn't approve of all of the activities as they are described by those in the video.

So, here you have it, my foray into the hotly contested area of white privilege. For now, I'll keep posting videos from voices on either side of the issue, with some of my own commentary mixed in. One of these days, I'll get around to writing in depth my own observations.

Enjoy and Comment!


Macon D said...

Thanks for posting those, I hadn't seen them. The perspective here is messed up in so many ways that it's hard to know where to start. The claim that America is NOT an oppressive society is ridiculous. And so is the idea that such programs are indoctrination--as if the students aren't ALREADY indoctrinated by society. Every society indoctrinates its members, usually into accepting as "common sense" an oppressive social order.

I wonder who the backers are for the organizations mentioned in the video. Conservative, well-off white folks, no doubt, who want to preserve the social order that has them nicely ensconced in their first-class privilege seats. Not that they necessarily see the manufactured nature of their own "common sense."

Kevin Lockett said...

Exactly, their whole argument is based on the idea that the U.S. is not at all oppressive. I'm not for forcing controversial views on people, but since when did it become controversial that certain forces in this country can make life more difficult for non-dominant groups? Is it bad for dominant-group students to grow more aware of other's experiences?

I don't necessarily agree with all of the things described from a teaching standpoint, but I think the overall goal of the program was good.