American University ‘Privilege’ Workshop Ends Up Stereotyping Participants


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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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American University hosted a workshop so faculty and students could understand their “privilege,” but The College Fix reported Thursday that the class wound up stereotyping participants.

The Washington, D.C. university’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion hosted a workshop entitled Creating Inclusive Communities, where participants discussed concepts like “privilege,” “allyship,” and “interseectionality.”

Shannon Smith, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s associate director, and Andrew Toczydlowski, a director at American University’s business school, spoke about how their identities influenced perceptions of different situations. But the statements implied a relationship between a person’s identity and his or her attributes, thereby reaffirming stereotypes.

“I’m a black assistant director from the South that has an education degree beyond college,” said Smith. “So, at no point am I truly able to just enter a space and say ‘I’m solely only a black male.'”

“The identity I think about most here in DC is the fact that I’m white,” said Toczydlowski. “The identity that I’m always thinking about back home in rural upstate New York is the fact that I am not religious.”

The 10 participants, two of whom were professors, received a worksheet outlining “allyship,” defined as “personal commitment to dismantling oppression.”

The worksheet featured an “aspiring ally identity development” chart that outlined the progression from “aspiring ally for self-interest” to “aspiring ally for altruism” and finally to “ally for social justice.” The self-interested ally focuses on individuals, the altruistic ally cares about groups of people and the social justice ally hones in on systems, according to the report.

The self-interested ally insists they do not make mistakes, the altruistic ally gets defensive when called out for making them, and the social justice ally accepts “critiques as gifts” and “has accepted own -isms.”

The coordinators also handed out a packet displaying a “multidimensional identity development model” resembling a scientific model of an atom. Race, gender, sexual orientation, and other identities orbited the core of this identity atom.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to American University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion for comment, but received none in time for press.

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