Occidental College wants you to hate white people – in the name of tolerance and unity. The quirky private Southern California liberal arts college organized “Exploration of Whiteness Week,” which includes a number of events focusing on Whiteness, an underdeveloped discipline that seeks to end what it calls “white privileges” and to demonize whites as the sole cause of minorities’ plight. These events are funded by student money at a college composed primarily of Caucasians.
Unlike events devoted to minority cultures, “Exploration of Whiteness Week” is an excuse to bash whites and promote minority racism and leftist notions of “social justice.” There were no lectures on Norse literature, Gaelic football in Ireland, or the impact of white rapper Eminem in a genre of music dominated by blacks. On college campuses, praising Western Civilization qualifies one as a “white supremacist.” Instead, at Occidental’s Whiteness events, students hear from white speakers who are critical of white society. The message to white students is that the only laudable action whites can commit is to denounce their own inherent (genetic?) evil and accept the Left’s agenda – ethnic, sexual, social, and economic.
The university’s offered Tim Wise as its prototypical self-hating white man. Wise is the author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son – a book that espouses the myth that internalized and “institutional racism” rob minorities of their rights and grant whites a privileged place in society. Occidental deemed Wise a “critical white ally in the fight for social justice,” suggesting that normally whites are opponents of social justice. A supporter of Affirmative Action and critic of whites acquiring wealth, Wise has no problem raking in a reported $4,000, plus expenses, for his every speech as he tours the nation’s college campuses.
Occidental’s second example of typical whiteness was – a former neo-Nazi. According to the advertisement for the event, this former neo-Nazi, Timothy Zaal, discussed “transformation from hate to tolerance, challenges current white supremacist rhetoric, and presents an inspiring testimony on the benefits of pluralism and diversity.” Who better to discuss whiteness than a former hatemonger who now devotes his life to promoting left-wing causes? If a former neo-Nazi representing “Whiteness” isn’t offensive enough, a student who attended the speech reports organizers of this event donned t-shirts that said “I am a victim of Whiteness.” Seeing that these students have access to and can afford a private school with tuition costs in excess of $40,000, they appear less to be victims of whiteness than propaganda and left-wing manipulation.
Jumping on the white supremacist theme, Occidental presented two film viewings, followed by facilitated discussions. The first film was American History X, about a former neo-Nazi that changes paths from hate to tolerance. The second film, White Man’s Burden, puts blacks in positions of power and whites in poor ghettos. To drive the connection between rejecting racism and accepting university-approved left-wing activism home (as though the connection were subtle), the film was screened in Occidental College’s exclusive “Multicultural Hall,” the home of a select group of students with shared values to promote diversity and “social justice.”
The week of events concluded with a final dose of white peer pressure. In a not-so-inclusive panel discussion, a group of all-white students answered the burning question: “How can we, as a multicultural society, connect across our racial difference in a unified effort for social change?” Perhaps they could begin by not pigeonholing an entire race as being a resistant to the glories of “social justice” – perhaps not even define “social justice” (which is always presented as a socialist workers paradise).
Occidental does not want its students to debate issues as critical as this. Instead, they inundated the student body with descriptions of white people as the problem. All this, despite the college’s claim, “A diverse community is one that fosters an environment of sharing and learning among individuals based on their different identities, not on the groups they belong to.” Indeed, no speaker was there to debate Wise or the former neo-Nazi. No programs were conducted discussing the criticisms of the Whiteness studies movement – and there are many critics, including academics.
Liberal arts colleges like Occidental frequently preach the need for tolerance of different cultures – to welcome, as the college’s mission statement claims, “the presence of all forms of diversity.” As noble as that sounds, the warm and cozy feeling of acceptance cannot exist when Occidental and others do not accept non-leftist opinions and beliefs on campus.
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