Wednesday, April 14, 2021

US Higher Education and the Intellectualization of White Supremacy

US higher education has reflected and reinforced white supremacy, a particular form of racism, for hundreds of years.  Elite US universities were built and maintained through generations of land theft and killing of native peoples, the enslavement of Africans and their descendants, and the use of intellectualized propaganda to maintain the social order.  

Aspects of this ideology continue today and are visible to the well trained mind but invisible to the equally trained white supremacist mind, enough so that allegedly well educated people have the ability to deny or minimize its presence despite overwhelming evidence.  

White supremacy did not end when enslaved people were not held captive at universities.  It did not end with the creation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  It did not end when overt racial discrimination was challenged in the 1960s and 1970s or when affirmative action was instituted. It did not end with various types of ethnic studies.  It did not end with the oversampling of groups in health studies. It did not end in the 21st century when students protested racist speakers or when the names of some rich and famous white supremacists were removed from buildings or endowments.  It did not end with anti-racist studies or when some schools hired people of color for powerful positions.  White supremacy is embedded today not just in history, literature, or criminal justice courses or in the science labs.  

How much white supremacy do you see embedded at your local college or university?  How is this ideology carefully taught?  Are matters of race and ethnicity ignored (color blind racism)?  How can you observe it systematically in the classroom and in the textbooks?  Do you see it in the racial and economic class makeup of the professors and the students?  In funding? In the recruiting of "legacies"? How do schools pit people against each other and invite animosity in the name of freedom of speech?  How much critical thinking is taught?  How much effort have these institutions really made to the correct the effects of hundreds of years of oppression not only at the school, but in the local community? What numbers can you share that expose the presence of white supremacy at your cherished school? 

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