A new class at the University of Notre Dame is garnering extra attention in wake of the Michael Brown grand jury decision as it focuses on white privilege. The six week course, known as Sociology 25280 “White Privilege Seminar: An introduction to the intersections of privilege” offers a single credit and a trip to a white privilege conference in mid-May. Critics claim the class is geared toward shaming white people for the deeds of their ancestors.
The white privilege class is “designed to educate and train ten carefully selected students on the definitions of causes and effects of white privilege,” the Christian Science Monitor shared from the course description. The course description also points out that individuals in contemporary culture “consciously and unconsciously simultaneously participate in and are affected by systems of oppression.” It also states that these are learned aspects of nature and can also be unlearned, as the class hopes to prove.
Mark Gianfalla, a current student of the university, is upset that the course is allowed to exist.
“This isn’t education, it’s indoctrination. The problem I see with this course is that it is teaching a flawed and inherently racist sociological theory as fact.”
Gianfalla also states that the professor of the course, Iris Outlaw, has assisted in organizing on campus protests that are against the College Republicans. He also states that the class is less about white privilege and more about shaming an entire culture. Professor Outlaw shared that the class is being unfairly targeted.
“This is not going to be like a white bashing or anything like that. It’s just to help people understand the basis of privilege as well because we all have different privileges depending on who we are. So while the seminar is named after white privilege, the class, in fact, will take a look at a variety of other privileges such as gender and disabilities, in addition to race.”
The Daily Caller reported that they reached out to professor Outlaw to clarify the course’s objective, but she has failed to return the call.
It is unknown who is representing the ten students in the class, or what race, gender, or ethnicity they are. The handpicked class was presumably decided by Professor Outlaw.
Controversial topics and classes are not an uncommon occurrence at colleges and bring a level of diversity to the educational array. Students, such as Mark Gianfalla, fear that the class could impose unnecessary conflict due to the teachings. Rather than deter racism and privilege of any sort, they feel it simply brings the issue to the forefront instead of moving past it. What are your thoughts?
[Photo Courtesy: Visit Indiana]