Do you get “angry” when colleagues berate you about “understanding your own white privilege?”
Well then, you might be a white supremacist, at least according to professor Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt, who teaches English at Linfield College in Oregon.
Dutt-Ballerstadt created a handy checklist “of qualities and attributes of those that overtly or covertly support or contribute to a culture of mundane and everyday white supremacy within our institutions.”
Her list contains 15 “troubles” that she says she “identified to help others in academe recognize your (un)conscious contributions to white supremacy.”
Dutt-Ballerstadt shared her list last Friday on Inside Higher Ed, several of which are highlighted below:
• You work in a position of power in a predominantly white institution, and while you claim to be working for social justice, you do nothing to change the white supremacist power structures within your departments, committees and institutional decision-making process.
• When your colleagues who are marginalized complain to you about their “oppressive” work conditions, you think that they are difficult.
• When your colleagues and students claim that they experienced microaggressions, your response is “I am so sorry. This is unbelievable!”
• When you are asked to nominate your students and faculty colleagues for awards or leadership positions, your first instinct is to nominate those that are “stellar” (mostly men) and obviously “white.” It doesn’t occur to you that you are implicitly supporting a logic of meritocracy that is built on this racist assumption that everyone has had the same access and opportunities.
• When it comes to understanding your own white privilege, you get very angry if a faculty member of color points out to you where and how your privilege is operating. You deem such critiques as “uncivil” and as not supporting a collegial environment.
• You are aware of the many wrongs that you see your institution is doing to your marginal faculty and students, and while you sympathize with people of color and marginal students and faculty members behind your closed door, you never openly confront your institution.
• When a professor of color stands up in your faculty meetings and expresses their frustrations about inequity, you go to your trusted colleagues (the next day) and ask, “Why is s/he or them always so angry?”
I can’t help but notice a lot of these sound like her complaining about colleagues getting angry with her berating them for their “white supremacy.”
• You think of yourself as an ally to your faculty of color colleagues, but cannot understand why your white students are so upset when professors of color teach and critique sites of white privilege.
• In your institutional reviews for tenure and promotion cases, you advise and critique your faculty of color colleagues to be more sensitive and mindful in respecting the viewpoint of our students. By “our students” you really mean “our white students.”
• You benefit so much from the system that you have decided to stay out of all of this “identity politics.”
• You have never thought of yourself as an ally to any of the causes of faculty of color and you never have any time to go to any events that they and other marginal folks have organized (where they express their everyday struggles). But you will happily go to an event if Ta-Nehisi Coates is speaking in town.
In short, if you’re not working actively to disenfranchise “white people” in America, you’re probably a “white supremacist.”
This is the new standard for determining white supremacy.
Imaging being employed at a university and getting paid to whine about “mundane white supremacy” all day and thinking you’re oppressed.
Here’s another point which I’m sure she’ll soon add to the list: if you think English teachers should actually teach English and not about “dismantling white power structures,” you’re probably a white supremacist.