It’s back to school time, and the taxpayer-funded State University of New York at Binghamton has prepared its student resident assistants for the arrival of new students with a course welcomingly entitled, “#StopWhitePeople2K16.”As The Blaze writes:
A school newspaper, the Binghamton Review, included an image of the course title and description in its report:
It’s move in week! Excited to meet your new RA? Good news! They’ve been properly trained to keep the dorms safe… https://t.co/MEoYTChJf9
— Binghamton Review (@bingreview) August 22, 2016
The premise of this session is to help others take the next step in understanding diversity, privilege, and the society we function within,” the description of the training reads. “Learning about these topics is a good first step, but when encountered with ‘good’ arguments from uneducated people, how do you respond? This open discussion will give attendees the tools to do so, and hopefully expand upon what they already may know.”The #StopWhitePeople2K16 training was facilitated by three student resident assistants. RAs typically live on residence hall floors with students and help them adjust to college life.
Since word spread about the course, reactions have been strong — decidedly in opposition to it, along with plenty of accusations of racism. Here are some from the Binghamton Review’s Facebook page:
- “Just waiting for the Kill white people quickly and easily classes to be advertised.”
- “Typical liberal hypocrite BS … Hopefully there will be some people with b***s to call this out for what it is. Racism at its lowest.”
- “This is racist and disgusting. I’m ashamed that this is happening in the city I live in. Who wants to protest?!”
- “Looks like it’s time to defund SUNY.”
- “Can’t believe this racist liberal cesspool is somehow running. All organizers should apologize and immediately be fired. Ridiculous racism.”
- “This is actually appalling.”
You might have assumed the name itself, not to mention the vehement backlash, might’ve naturally sparked some sort of retraction or even an apology from the university. Just imagine if a course had been called “StopBlackPeople2K16” or “Stop[INSERT RACE HERE]2K16,” you can guarantee apologies would have been forthcoming — as well as a few resignations by leaders deemed responsible for the matter.But in the case of “#StopWhitePeople2K16,” you’d be wrong. Via Binghamton Review:
Brian Rose, Binghamton University’s Vice President of Student Affairs, wrote in his response to the controversy that the program was not “‘anti-white,’” and instead was simply a “discussion” that “explored reverse racism, the relationship of communities of color with police, whiteness, crime and segregation in an open conversation format.”“Reverse racism” — perhaps they meant to say, quite simply, racism or bigotry, just applied to white people?
Rose wrote that, the program title “#StopWhitePeople2K16” was drawn from a familiar hashtag in use on Twitter, and was not invented by the program facilitators. It is my understanding that the hashtag is commonly used ironically.
OK, so “we didn’t make it up” and anyway, “it’s just used ironically” — so not our fault and really, get over it, it’s just “ironic.” Kind of like a joke.
What we strive to do from an administrative level is cultivate an environment where our students listen to one another, learn from one another and do so in a manner that doesn’t cause unnecessary harm. I have no indication that this particular program was inconsistent with the respectful environment we hope to support and sustain.
This last sentence Rose writes despite acknowledging that “a few participants” in the course had a “mixed reaction” about the respectfulness and productivity of the course conversation.
So by the university’s definition, a course entitled “#StopWhitePeople2K16” is just fine and dandy, right in line with the “respectful” environment they hope to maintain.
One resident assistant who attended the event later suggested that if they hold the course again in the future, the presenters should “probably change the name so people get mad less” — note, essentially shifting the issue onto the people who might be troubled by the name, rather than the troubling nature of the name itself.
Given the university reaction to the course, one university alumnus going by the handle “Disgusted” suggested starting a new course called “White Alumni Stop Donating From Now On.”
I have another idea: “Taxpayer Stop Funding University.”
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]