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White Privilege Conference: Being white is like being an alcoholic

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Robby Soave
Reporter

The 15th annual National White Privilege Conference took place in Madison, Wisconsin, last week — subjecting attendees to informational sessions that explained why everything they did was inherently racist and oppressive.

The conference was funded in part by hotel tax revenues, the University of Wisconsin and the City of Madison — in other words, by taxpayer dollars. It was a colorful week, according to an account by the MacIver Institute

Kim Radersma, a former high school English teacher and current activist, hosted a session titled, “Stories from the front lines of education: Confessions of a white, high school English teacher.”

Radersma advised participants — who paid more than $400 for the privilege of hearing her rant about privilege — that teaching was a purely political act, and neutral people should “get the fuck out of education.” (RELATED: University addresses racism by having a racially segregated group discussion)

“Teaching is a political act, and you can’t choose to be neutral,” said Radersma. “You are either a pawn used to perpetuate a system of oppression or you are fighting against it. And if you think you are neutral, you are a pawn.”

All teachers who do not actively confront the system are promoting white supremacy, said Radersma.

She also said that white people fighting oppression is akin to alcoholic trying to resist the temptation to drink. The dark sickness of racism is at the heart of all the actions of white people.

“Being a white person who does anti-racist work is like being an alcoholic,” she said. “I will never be recovered by my alcoholism, to use the metaphor. I have to everyday wake up and acknowledge that I am so deeply embedded with racist thoughts and notions and actions in my body that I have to choose everyday to do anti-racist work and think in an anti-racist way.” (RELATED: Student forced to apologize for emailing pic of Obama kicking a door, because RACISM)

She also articulated the view that black students were better off being taught by black teachers, since white people have little to offer them.

“You need to learn feminism from a woman,” she said. “You need to learn what it is like to be a woman from a woman. I can’t teach students of color nearly as well as a person of color can.”

Radersma is white, as were the vast majority of the participants, according to a photograph of the event.

The price tag for attending WPC varies depending on whether you are a student and when you apply, but it can run as high as $440. At its cheapest, it still costs $200.

Conference organizers did not respond to a request for comment.

When white people give charity to black people, it’s because they are racist.

A white attendee shared an anecdote with participants: Her family donated school supplies to a disadvantaged minority family. The attendeed realized–and Radersma agreed–that her family had perpetrated racism against the minority family.

“It’s that savior mentality… ‘we need to think of them and give them our sympathy and our charity and our generosity,’ which is so demeaning to the people on the receiving end,” said Radersma. “It’s so demoralizing and disempowering to be receiving it.”

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