Culture

Not The Onion: State University Has 'Stop White People' Event for RA Training — Updated

An agenda document at the State University of New York, Binghamton campus. Twitter Screenshot.

See below for the update.

The State University of New York at Binghamton is actually hosting an event titled “#StopWhitePeople2K16” at a training for resident assistants. Yet again, the politically correct social justice warriors have let slip their own racial prejudices, in the name of opposing systemic injustice and “white privilege.” After defending the title of the event, Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose finally apologized for the title, admitting it was “offensive and alarming” out of context.

The “Stop White People” class reportedly aims to help others understand “diversity, privilege, and the society we function in.” In an Orwellian twist, the teachers promise to “give attendees the tool to” debunk “‘good’ arguments from uneducated people.” Anyone who disagrees with the assertion that we live in a society with inherent advantages for white people is “uneducated” and needs to be corrected.

Nevermind the intellectual diversity and open dialogue from multiple perspectives that truly fosters education, or the fact that white people are still people and should not be discriminated against, or the simple truth that organizations focused on “stopping white people” are just as racist as ones set up to hold back other races.

No, the State University of New York at Binghamton is committed to the closing of the liberal mind and the conspiracy theory that somehow “white people” are all out to get everyone else. Here is the full description of the event:

The premise of this session is to help others take the next step in understanding diversity, privilege, and the society we function within. Learning about these topics is a good first step, but when encountered with ‘good’ arguments from uneducated people, how do you respond? This open discussion will give attendees the tools to do so, and hopefully expand upon what they may already know.

Student Howard Hecht explained the mentality behind such overt racism. “If you subscribe to the extremely leftist notion that to be racist against white people is ‘reverse racism,’ and therefore white people cannot experience racism because ‘reverse racism’ does not exist, then the title of this conference will not bother you. For the rest of the student population, however, the title may come as a bit of a shock, or at the very least spark interest in understanding the hashtag.”

Update: After the publication of the event caused some controversy, Rose responded in an attempt to clarify why it was entitled “Stop White People.” He noted, “It is my understanding that the hashtag is commonly used ironically.” He then proceeded to describe an official investigation of the event in question:

We verified that the actual program content was not “anti-white.” The inclusion of the program in the educational session was not driven by any University administration initiative to advocate any specific viewpoint on diversity. About 40 to 50 RAs chose to attend the session, which ran concurrently with other sessions. Topically, the discussion in the program was far-ranging, student-driven and explored reverse racism, the relationship of communities of color with police, whiteness, crime and segregation in an open conversation format. Post-session feedback predominantly described the session as a respectful and productive conversation. Professional staff followed up directly with a few participants who had a mixed reaction to the program in support of those participants.

This clarification was helpful, but shortly afterward Rose himself seems to have come to the realization that an official apology was necessary.

See the apology on the next page.

The vice president of Student Affairs published yet another response to the controversy, aiming to “provide additional perspective.”

For those who were familiar with the hashtag used in the title, it was understood not to be literal. Nonetheless, the program should not have been so titled. Out of context, it is offensive and alarming. That was not the intent. The mistake made by staff who let it go to print was a failure to consider what impression the program title would create if it circulated beyond those familiar with the hashtag, as it in fact did. We’ll make sure all of our staff learn from the experience.”

For the many who have conflated the issue of the title with the purpose of the program and assumed that the intent was to target white people — that is simply false. The program was an opportunity for student staff to explore race-related topics in conversation and to practice managing conflict around those issues with each other. Criticism that the title was poorly chosen is fair. Continued cries that the program purpose and intent were racist are not.

Rose did not stop at apologizing, however. He noted that the program’s leaders “have been personally targeted with threatening, racist and highly vitriolic messages,” and declared, “That is reprehensible and condemnable.” He emphasized that “behind the controversy over the program name was an honest effort to lead a productive discussion about race and diversity, which in fact occurred.” He urged critics to “strive to understand their good intent and show them some grace.”

The administrator’s second response is admirable, but it still seems not to understand the thinking behind those who were outraged by the anti-white title of the event. An increasing emphasis on racial diversity and on demands for racial justice has fostered the idea that white people are “privileged,” and therefore the system needs to be changed to elevate those of other races.

While racism against minorities has been a significant feature of American history, the answer is to reject judgments on the color of one’s skin, not to simply reverse the victims of discrimination.

Current events seem to suggest that the ugly tide has not fully abated. A group of “people of color” students at the Claremont Colleges specifically tried to prevent getting any white roommates. Back in May, a group of young people formed an organization aimed at convincing white men not to run for political office. Perhaps more terrifying, the Black Lives Matter protest in Milwaukee not only chanted “Black Power,” but also specifically called for violence against white people.

In the face of such events, is it all that surprising that a “White Lives Matter” protest emerged last weekend? Unfortunately, racism on one side encourages racism on the other. In addition to a Confederate Flag (specifically the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia), the group had a sign reading “14 Words,” a reference to a white supremacist slogan.

Racism is evil in all its forms. Judging people on the basis of their skin is prejudice, whether expressed against blacks, whites, Hispanics, or Asians. Let us reject it and pursue a society which welcomes all and judges people not based on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character.