- The first day's keynote speaker was Loretta Ross, a prominent pro-abortion activist. She previously has characterized the pro-life movement as "re-enslaving Black women by making us breeders for someone else's cause."
- Another keynoter was the feminist activist Chris Crass. His research seeks to conduct "an intersectional feminist analysis of patriarchy, capitalism, white supremacy, heterosexism, and the state."
- A third keynoter was the lesbian feminist Mab Segrest. She assisted in founding a "queer regional organization" in North Carolina whose member fought for the legalization of so-called "homosexual marriage."
Conference attendees also participated in numerous seminars and workshops. In one particular workshop, "The Roots of Racism in Christian Hegemony," attendees learned how "Christian hegemony punishes the poor, destroys the environment, contributes to our seemingly endless 'war on terror,' undermines our interpersonal relationships, weakens our communities and promotes injustice."
While none of the content of this particular conference should surprise anyone, it provides an idea about the content for a new one-credit, eight-week course titled "White Privilege," that will be taught this Spring at the University of Notre Dame (UND).
The course description explains that the course is "designed to educate and train White Privilege Conference delegation participants." The conference will be held in Louisville, KY, in March and is sponsored by The White Privilege Conference organization. which "examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world." The goal of the course is to make the students "more aware of injustices and better equipped with tools to disrupt personal, institutional, and worldwide systems of oppression."
The UND course is scheduled to be taught by UND's Director of Multicultural Student Programs and Services, Iris Outlaw, who also is a Vice President of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education. Assisted by two associates, Ms. Outlaw will carefully select 10 students based upon the information they supply regarding their attitudes and during an interview. While the class will be "looking at social, political, and economic systems through the lens of white supremacy," Ms. Outlaw stated in an interview that the course will also be talking about "other systems of oppression" in addition to "White privilege."
Some people aren't happy. For example, a Sycamore Trust blog/bulletin, "Guardian of the Grotto," notes:
This is the sort of conference to which Notre Dame will be sending
delegates, all expenses paid by the university. The White Privilege
Conference supporters who want to "disrupt personal, institutional,
and worldwide systems of oppression," as the Notre Dame course
description puts it, will no doubt be jubilant. Should Notre Dame donors
gaze in disbelief?
Of course, the question is rhetorical. UND donors who believe that a course like "White Privilege" shouldn't be offered should withhold their contributions and have every right to do so.
However, while some of the course's content may be deemed objectionable, there is no better place than at a Catholic university for a course like "White Privilege" to be offered. Assuming the "whole" truth will be presented, discussed, and debated by all participants, the wisdom of the Catholic intellectual tradition could do nothing but inform and enrich the course. Moreover, the experience could provide the specially selected 10 students with more informed and complex understanding of the content that, in turn, could assist them well in assessing the contents of the conference in Louisville more objectively.
That said, The Motley Monk isn't optimistic.
- To begin, one has to question the selection of Ms. Outlaw. As reported by thecollegefix.com, Ms. Outlaw participated in protesting against conservative pundit Ann Coulter. The goal? To bar her from speaking at UND earlier this year.
- One also has to wonder about process regarding the selection of those 10 students. In particular, what about those students who are not selected and why?
- Then, too, the course syllabus and the details concerning the topics as well as the espoused interests of those who will facilitate the course suggest that the course content will be informed more by ideology than sober, judicious scholarship.
To the degree that the course "facilitators" evidence a parochial ideology in their published statements, admit select students who fit neatly into pre-determined categories, and the couse content provides evidence that it's more about ideology than scholarship, shame on UND's academic administrators for allowing a course like "White Privilege" to run. Doing so is a disservice to the idea of a Catholic university.
Let the discussion begin...
To learn about the White Privilege Conference, click on the following link:http://www.whiteprivilegeconference.com/wpc.html
To read the Sycamore Trust blog/bulletin, click on the following link:
To read thecollegefix.com article, click on the following link: