University publishes prof's pledge to 'pay' black people for 'what I owe'
- An opinion editorial on a “calculation of what I/we owe” to “black folks” was published on North Carolina State's website.
- The article was written by a professor who claims that she "benefit[s] from white supremacy" daily.
A professor at North Carolina State University recently published an editorial on the university website highlighting everything she “owe[s] Black folks” and encouraging others to begin “paying them in money, time, energy, and other resources.”
NCSU Associate Teaching Professor Elizabeth Nelson's opinion editorial, titled “A Reckoning on What I Owe," was published on the school’s Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity website. In it, she stated that she owes “Black folks a daily practice of dismantling & redistributing my benefits from white supremacy.”
She then went on to discuss how she believes that other White people should follow in the same practice. Nelson shared how she personally "benefit[s] from white supremacy every single day” and how this can cause damage to the Black community.
“More significantly, every harm, hurt, and/or violence I have perpetrated on someone who is not White, either individually or by virtue of my roles in systems, is made easier by the fact, by the privilege, of my whiteness. Facing the foundational facts of my white privilege and complicity with white supremacy is not a form of suffering. I have made others suffer, or allowed suffering, because of my white complicity with white supremacy,” Nelson wrote.
Later, she expressed her support of the Black Lives Matter movement, including “uprisings in all their forms, where people matter more than property,” “reparations,” “total abolition and transformative justice” and “total body liberation.”
To conclude her opinion editorial, Nelson wrote a “love letter” to the “black trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex folks,” in which she refers to such people as the “embodiment of justice” and the “hardest working group of freedom fighters as well as the most brilliant, creative, resilient, and amazing folks.”
“White folks, especially my fellow white folks for whom a Pride month is relevant, we owe Black trans folks a daily practice of gratitude and collective support. Pay black trans folks, especially Black trans womxn & femmes, to support their survival. Again, I will share any lists I have received” Nelson wrote.
NCSU student Chris Thomas, a fourth-year political science major, was not surprised to see such viewpoints published on the school’s platforms, stating he has seen the way that conservative students have been treated on campus in the past. Thomas told Campus Reform that he is “all for everyone being treated equally, but that certain measures being pushed by the political left are extreme."
“I think everyone should be treated equally. But when you start calling for things like reparations and uprisings, it shows you how far the Left has truly gone,” Thomas said.
Thomas said he believes that society should focus on giving money to a different group of people: “The business owners that have had their businesses destroyed in the recent riots…they’re the ones that deserve the money and the payback."
The NCSU Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, which published Nelson's comments on its page on the university's official website, has been active in recent weeks, publishing similar guest opinion editorials from university faculty members.
Among the many titles listed under its “Diversity Digest” page is “My Continued Journey as an Ally” and “COVID-19, Police Violence Disproportionately Affect Black People."
The OIED also published a list of resources for students to use in order to improve the racial climate on campus.
The resource page includes links to training and certifications for inclusion and diversity, as well as a list of “Anti-Racist Literature” for students and faculty to read if they choose to do so.
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Dying of Whiteness by Jonathan M. Metzl, and How to Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi are just a few of the books included on the list.
Campus Reform reached out to Nelson for further comment on her opinion editorial but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @opheliejacobson