Professor Hopes To Reduce ‘White Privilege’ With Workshop

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David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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Tired of enduring white privilege on your campus? Western Washington University (WWU) is providing its own solution Friday with a special workshop that promises to “reduce the impact of white privilege on social and academic relations,” according to a news release sent out by the public university.

The College Fix reports that it’s all part of the facility’s Campus Equity and Inclusion Forums. The forums have been fashioned for faculty, staff and students to come together to view presentations, participate in in role-playing exercises and engage in workshop leader-led discussions. The object is to understand “how to reduce the expression and effects of white privilege,” according to WWU’s website.

Randall Jimerson, a “privileged” white professor who doesn’t think himself qualified to assess racial progress in America, is leading the activities.

“I think the harmful effects of ‘white privilege’ are that it can reflect an insensitivity to the subtle effects of both racism and lack of awareness of the differences between how people of color and people called ‘white’ are treated in everyday life,” Jimerson told The College Fix. “Not being aware that other people face daily, often subtle, discrimination can make white people insensitive to these debilitating effects.”

The seminar may be accessible to everyone on campus, but Jimerson admits it’s really only white folks who will find it especially beneficial.

“Most people of color are aware of the existence of ‘white privilege,’ whether or not they have applied this term to the disparity between their experiences and those of white people,” he explained. “Thus, I assume that the main focus will be on helping white participants to understand, explore, and accept (or reject) the concepts embedded in this phrase.”

He hopes white people can not only learn something at his workshop but go back to their lives and jobs and implement the concepts.

“I hope that the conversation will then move to ideas about how to reduce the impact of ‘white privilege’ in our daily interactions with other people, and in our consciousness of race and other socially-constructed concepts.”

Jimerson, despite running a workshop on white privilege, feels that he is unqualified to talk about race relations in America since the civil rights movement.

“As a white male—even though I have a sister-in-law, a niece, and two nephews who would be described as persons of color—I do not think that I can provide a clear answer to this question,” he said. “The nature of race relations, and how this has changed in the past 50 years, is something that I can only sense indirectly.”

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