Saturday, November 03, 2007

Resident evil

There are times I think that there is a organisation entirely devoted to making up stories to appeal to my deepest prejudices. I generally work on the assumption that whatever I believe to be true is necessarily limited and subject to my own inadequacies. Then I hear stories like this.

The University of Delaware runs a special programme for its 7,000 resident students. It hires Resident Assistants (RAs) to conduct seminars and one-to-one sessions with new arrivals. This in itself, I think, is not unusual. What is unusual (I hope) are the intended outcomes of these sessions (called "treatments"): correct views on politics, race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism.

For example, define 'racist'

A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.

Or, 'non-racist'?

A non-term. The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism.

Questions that the RAs put in the one-to-one treatment.

1. When were you first made aware of your race?
2. When did you discover your sexual identity?
4. When was a time when you confronted someone regarding
an issue of diversity? What was the confrontation about?
If haven’t [sic], why not?
5. When was a time you felt oppressed? Who was oppressing
you? How did you feel?

What should the students get from their treatment?

B. Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society.
C. Students will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of oppression.

Link this with the definition of racism, and the conclusion is clear: dismantle the whole system (except tenure).

What happens in a treatment session?

In one activity we were required to agree or disagree with a statement, when asked if we could abstain or be neutral, our RA promptly said that she would not proceed with the activity until everyone had taken a side...everyone was forced to take a side they might have disagreed with and everyone at some point was forced to justify their choosing of the side they did, and I say forced because refusing to justify oneself was not acceptable.

Obviously a case of unacceptable indifference.

After a campaign by FIRE, the President of the University of Delaware has cancelled the programme. Why are we becoming more and more like the Evil Empire we defeated in 1989?

1 comment:

Hazar Nesimi said...

Or, 'non-racist'?

A non-term. The term was created by whites to deny responsibility for systemic racism.

You must be joking!!