A workshop held on Tuesday taught white students at the Ohio State University about their ‘privilege,’ how not to be racist, and that only they can be racist and never claim to be a victim of racism.
The workshop, “Interrupting Racism: Tips & Tools for White People,” attempted “to increase self-awareness, explore beliefs about race, and examine racism. Participants will learn tools for allyship, and develop a personal plan of action to interrupt racism.” They said that all were welcome to attend, but that they were concentrating their focus on “white identified people.”
The program was part of Ohio State’s “Ally Week” designed to “reach out to the entire Ohio State campus community in an effort to encourage students, staff and faculty to act in solidarity with and on behalf of people who are of a different race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious or spiritual identity, gender identity/expression, socioeconomic class, or other identity different than their own.”
A reporter from the College Fix attended the workshop and found that the white students were taught three “ingredients” of racism: race, power, and prejudice. One of the leaders of the event, Angie Wellman, the associate director of the Student Life Multicultural Center, argued that every non-white race doesn’t have “power,” therefore white people cannot be victims of racism.
According to the reporter, the only black student in attendance asked Wellman if only white people could be racist. She replied “yes.”
Participants were asked to share their experiences with white supremacy and privilege. Some were hesitant, however, one female participant was guilty, saying, “Whiteness grants you power and access to things. As a white woman, I can walk into any space and know that my white privilege will grant me power and access to things that someone else is not going to experience.”
Ohio State University has largely stayed away from headlines. However, shortly after Thanksgiving in 2016, law enforcement prevented a massacre after a student went on a stabbing spree that sent 10 people to the hospital that many consider to be a terrorist attack. Following that incident, Ohio passed legislation to abolish gun-free zones.
In the aftermath from that attack, some students held a moment of silence for the Somali-born attacker, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who was killed by police to prevent him from harming any more people. Stephanie Clemons Thompson, the Assistant Director of Residence Life, called for sympathy for Artan writing on Facebook, “If you think it is okay to celebrate his death […] I will unfriend you.”
In less than a year, the Ohio State University is doubling down on identity politics by sending a message to white people that they’ll never be a victim of racism, even if an alleged terrorist literally attempts to end their existence.