A professor questioned why “whiteness” is normal, at a Monday talk entitled “It’s OK to be [Against] White[ness].”
Dr. Michael Cappello, an “anti-oppressive educator” and professor at the University of Regina, gave the presentation at the University of Trent, according to footage obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Cappello positioned his talk as a response to “it’s OK to be white” posters hung up at college campuses across North America. (RELATED: University Of Virginia: If You See ‘Offensive Flyers,’ Call 911)
“When or where has it been not okay to be white in Canada?” the professor asked the audience. Noting the oppression of American Indians by white people in Canada’s past, he stated that one of the posters was found on the door of the school’s Office of Indigenization. “That poster on that door in that hallway at the University of Regina is an act of violence. And it’s not abstract violence. This is intentionally violent,” he said.
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Cappello then went on to ascribe malice to whomever hung the “it’s OK to be white” flyer.
“Let’s be clear: they didn’t imagine that would be harmless,” said the professor. “They didn’t care. In fact, that violence was actually the purpose.”
Cappello defined “whiteness” as something encompassing white dominance, privilege, and presumed social superiority, citing authors Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo.
“‘Whiteness’ is supported by being ‘normal,'” said Cappello. “Sometimes we call this process ‘normalization.'”
The professor implied that normalization is the result of systemic racism, instead of the natural result of the demographics of a country. Cappello also discussed racism, denying the existence of what he called “reverse racism.”
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“I reserve the word racism for when those prejudices are also connected to power,” said the “anti-oppressive educator.” He also said that “everything that I’ve learned about race and racism in the last 12 years of studying this stuff, I’ve learned at the feet of black and brown people, mostly women. Full stop.”
The professor treated attendees to a half-hour long Q&A session after the hour-long presentation.
“Most of the nice people I know are racist,” admitted Cappello at one point, suggesting that niceness and lack of racism are not mutually exclusive.
Later in the Q&A, the professor condoned affirmative action and, inside of the classroom, treating students differently on the basis of their skin color.
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“I think putting the needs, in particular, of our most vulnerable students first, is actually really healthy [as] teachers and is actually really important, if we’re going to do anti-oppressive work,” he said.
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