Studying abroad is one of those things that students look forward to with a burning passion. The idea of not only visiting an exotic location, but also learning while you do it, increasing the depth of your life experiences before you even really begin to live, is something that’s easy to be thrilled about.
However, a couple of professors believe that before students study abroad, they should be required to go through a mandatory indoctrination to make sure they think the right things before they depart.
David Thomas and Zoe Luba, both professors at Mount Allison University, published an article Monday arguing that white students need more diversity programming to address their “white privilege” before they embark on any extended visits to foreign countries.
If students fail to critically reflect upon their privilege, Thomas and Luba warn that they risk perpetuating “harmful outcomes” in countries like Africa and India.
“Negative and racist stereotypes are often perpetuated and reproduced when uninformed participants travel to the Global South and return to tell others about their experiences,” they lament, adding that it is easy for students “to rely on racist stereotypes regarding the people and places they visit in explaining their trip to people back home.”
To fight this, Thomas and Luba recommend robust “pre-departure programming and preparation” for White students.
In particular, they hope that White students will address their “white fragility,” which they describe as “the (in)ability of white subjects to properly deal with questions of race and racism.”
“White fragility and the lack of critical pre-departure training in the areas of race and racism lead students to overlook or minimise racism as an important system of global oppression,” they assert.
These “harmful outcomes” are apparently not thinking “correctly” or dealing with regional stereotypes –which often have more to do with nationality than race — when recounting their adventures.
However, I love how they use the term “white fragility,” which is the new buzzword for race-baiters who want to couch their own racism behind pseudointellectual mumbo-jumbo. Want to know how we know it’s racist? Because only white students will be subjected to this nonsense if Thomas and Luba get their way. American minorities, however, will simply be able to board a plane and take off, despite many of them believing in those very same stereotypes.
I’m sick and tired of being treated like a racist simply because of the color of my skin. I’m tired of all white people being treated like we’re somehow second-class citizens because we’re white. It was stupid when it was happening to minorities, and it’s just as stupid now.
So, keep poking this bear. Keep it up and there will be a backlash. And I fear that day because a backlash will probably not be pretty.