An Oregon college professor has created a checklist intended to assist individuals in identifying whether they contribute to white supremacy.
In a Friday opinion editorial published in Inside Higher Ed, English professor Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt of Lindfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, said that she “created a list of qualities and attributes of those that overtly or covertly support or contribute to a culture of mundane and everyday white supremacy within our institutions.”
Dutt-Ballerstadt, who said that she compiled the list following many years of contemplation, outlined 15 core “troubles” which she “identified to help others in academe” recognize their “(un)conscious contributions to white supremacy.”
First on the long list is working “in a position of power in a predominantly white institution” and doing nothing “to change the white supremacist power structures within your departments, committees and institutional decision-making process.”
Similarly, according to Dutt-Ballerstadt, another indication of support for white supremacy is viewing colleagues who complain about oppressive work conditions as “difficult,” and saying, “I am so sorry. This is unbelievable” to coworkers and students who claim that they “experienced microaggressions.”
Another item that purportedly represents white supremacy is the desire to nominate “‘stellar’ (mostly men) and obviously ‘white’” colleagues for leadership positions and awards. Such a sentiment implicitly supports “a logic of meritocracy that is built on this racist assumption that everyone has had the same access and opportunities,” Dunn-Ballerstadt claims.
“When it comes to understanding your own white privilege, you get very angry if a faculty member of color points out to you where and how your privilege is operating,” she asserts. “You deem such critiques as ‘uncivil’ and as not supporting a collegial environment.”
Dunn-Ballerstadt also noted that white supremacy is bolstered by those who “actively discourage” people of color when they complain about “discrimination and racism,” as well as by those who advise faculty of color to respect the viewpoint of students.
Those “who benefit so much from the system” that they decide “to stay out of all of this ‘identity politics,’” and those who have never thought of themselves “as an ally to any of the causes of faculty of color,” are also contributing to white supremacy, according to the professor.
Dutt-Ballerstadt ends her piece by asserting that “If you have made it to this point, you are probably feeling quite hypervisible or fragile and have decided to have some hot chamomile tea from a cup that reads ‘White Tears’ or ‘Black Lives Matter.’”