Thursday, December 14, 2006

White People!

Now that I’ve gotten your attention . . . ;)

Hat tip: Phi Beta Cons

On April 18-21, 2007, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is hosting a White Privilege Conference. The conference is described as “a yearly opportunity to examine and explore difficult issues related to white privilege, white supremacy and oppression. WPC provides a forum for critical discussions about diversity, multicultural education and leadership, social justice, race/racism, sexual orientation, gender relations, religion and other systems of privilege/oppression. WPC is recognized as a challenging, empowering and educational experience. The workshops, keynotes and institutes not only inform participants, but engage and challenge them, while providing practical tips and strategies for combating inequality.”

I gotta tell you, I shake my head at this stuff. First of all, what does whiteness have to do with topics such as sexual orientation or the oppression of gays? Second of all, do these guys realize just how silly this sounds? Imagine, this is the eighth such conference, according to the web site. They don’t list this year’s sponsors yet, but wouldn’t we all like to know what the source of the money is? (My guess: Direct or indirect government funding as well as forced union dues.)

This reminds me of an incident at a government agency back in 2000 (ironically, just when the first “White Privilege Conference” might have taken place). This particular agency decided to pay some diversity consultants to put on a course called “White Folks and Diversity.” Yeah, you read that right. Here is the description:

“White folks often want to participate equally with people of color in creating a multicultural work environment, yet are unsure of their place in it. To participate equally, whites need an awareness of white culture with its strengths and weaknesses, as a component of a multicultural workplace. It is also necessary for whites to learn how to be better allies with people of color in creating positive change. These sessions will raise white awareness and improve allyship [sic] of participants in an interactive and engaging way. Topics which will be covered include:

“The value if white awareness in the workplace and the values of white culture.

“How to be allies and equal partners with people of color in the creation of a multicultural community.”

The announcement of this particular course somehow found its way into the Washington Times’ “Inside the Beltway” column. In response, embarassed officials at the agency in question changed the name of the course to “Whites and Diversity.” Remember who was President in 2000?

What is also interesting is that the “facilitators” for this course also happened to be graduates of the University of Colorado (Boulder). Small world, isn’t it?

By the way, they are looking for someone to sponsor a Shabbat dinner.

Now you have completed your diversity training requirement for the year! :)