In an attempt to combat systemic racism on the college campus, Brandeis University’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is now reserving spaces exclusively for white people, The College Fix reported.

The catch is that these spaces are going to feature anti-racist training—a type of training that apparently all white people need.

Guided by a white staffer, white students who choose to participate will undergo a six-week training covering all things race so that they may “come to a deep understanding about how whiteness moves,” according to the DEI office’s website. This training will be added to the participant’s regular course load.

The ultimate goal of the six-week program is to engage students in “cross racial dialogues,” which will apparently help white students exchange ideas about race-related issues with students of other races—eventually, according to The Fix.

The white students are expected to pay their dues by first undergoing race training among each other, according to the director of mental health education and “racial justice educator” who devised the training program.

There is also a separate space for BIPOC students—the trendy new group identity for black, indigenous, and people of color—is still in the process of being worked out, Joy von Steiger, a clinical psychologist at the private Jewish university, said, according to the student newspaper The Justice.

This separate BIPOC space will be focused on “healing” rather than education because BIPOC students already “live” systemic racism, Steiger said. DEI is allegedly launching “Anti-Racism Working Groups,” which The Justice characterizes as “miniature affinity spaces” targeted by interests such as sports.

Von Steiger explained that the sessions are not mandatory because there is “evidence that would suggest that people forced to do anti-racism education tend to not benefit from it as much as if they were to do it voluntarily.”

The Fix reported:

The logic of the segregated groups is that they develop “a shared body of knowledge” that they then bring to the other “for cross-racial dialogues,” according to The Justice.

White students must undergo racial sensitivity conditioning prior to talking with their minority classmates so they don’t “cause harm,” von Steiger said. “It doesn’t have to be kumbaya, but white folks in particular have to have done enough work” to safely share a space with nonwhites.

Von Steiger reported that six students are currently engaged in the white affinity group, which kicked off earlier this fall. It is, so far, the only affinity space at the Waltham, Massachusetts campus.

Von Steiger’s white-people-only program has two levels. It begins with “White Students Discussing Anti-Racism” and moves on to “From Ally to Accomplice: Taking Action in Your Anti-racism Journey.”

There is also a refined reading list for the participants, as reported by The Fix:

The DEI website says students receive a copy of the 2020 book “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad, which is endorsed by “Eat Pray Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert and actress Anne Hathaway. “White Fragility” author and lucrative campus speaker Robin DiAngelo (below) wrote the foreword. (DiAngelo’s book is the first listed under “Resources” on the DEI page.)

Students are to take three consecutive training sessions over the course of three weeks for each level. The first level covers systemic racism, black history, and “the roots of mass incarceration,” in the paraphrase of The Justice. It also lectures white students how capitalism and slavery are linked and compares slavery to what the newspaper calls “economic justice.”

The second is reported to teach white students how to become activists against systemic racism. Both include Brandeis-specific racial history as well as general themes, according to The Fix.


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