JANUARY 16, 2014
A public university in Colorado rewards high school and college students with academic credits for attending its annual “White Privilege Conference” which aims to eliminate “white supremacy and oppression.”
While this could easily be viewed as racist, it’s proudly advertised and, incredibly, funded by American taxpayers. The annual White Privilege Conference is a product of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), which has an enrollment of about 10,500 and offers bachelor’s in in 37 areas and graduate degrees in more than two dozen fields. U.S. News & World Report has named it one of America’s Best Colleges, according to the school’s website, which also brags that “graduation rates for ethnic minority groups exceed peer university average.”
UCCS also has a special center dedicated to eradicating oppression, inequality and privilege long enjoyed among whites in most societies. It’s called the Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion and its official mission is to “foster a climate that supports inclusion and collaboration to examine the intersections of oppression and privilege and promote solutions to inequality.” The center also aims to bridge the gap between the university and diverse communities, even though the school brags about its high number of minority graduates.
A consortium of faculty launched the center in 2005 and it’s become a leading national resource for the study of privilege and oppression from an intersectional perspective, according to its website. What exactly does this mean? That the work done by the academics at the renowned center examines not only gender, but race, class, sexuality and other dimensions of identity and inequality. The purpose is to study the “intersections of gender, race/ethnicity and sexuality as they interact with each other and with other dimensions of privilege, oppression and inequality.”
These subjects are tackled especially hard at the Matrix Center’s annual White Privilege Conference which promises to strengthen communities and seek justice. This year’s powwow will be held in Madison Wisconsin from March 26-29. High school and university students who attend the conference and complete additional training get college credit or graduate certificates in “Diversity, Social Justice and Inclusion.”
The traveling conference is promoted as “Diversity University” and it promises to help attendees nationwide learn how to address issues of white privilege, leadership, bullying and other forms of oppression and privilege. There’s even a syllabus for high school students that outlines the course and encourages reading published material like “Privilege, Power and Difference” and starting campus clubs to focus on diversity, privilege and inclusion. The idea is to spread the word.
All the hard work and training will pay off, according to the organizers who aim to eradicate white privilege in society, because they assure that “an inclusive and equitable community will improve life and benefit all citizens.”
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