ASU publishes 'black male privilege checklist'

The "Black Male Privilege" checklist is among the lists published.

Arizona State University published "checklists" for various demographics.

Arizona State University has published on its official website a “checklist” to address “Black Male Privilege.”

ASU’s “Project Humanities” initiative “facilitates critical conversations among diverse communities through talking, listening, and connecting” by exploring “shared ideas and experiences.” The initiative lists several “initiatives,” including one called “Privilege and Bias.” 

According to the university, the initiative “hosted 2-hour workshops that explored everyday manifestations of privilege.” The page lists several different events from 2014, and says “These workshops have now evolved to be Humanity 101 in the Workplace: Lessons in Privilege and Bias.”

According to a separate page, Humanity 101 in the Workplace “speaks to workplace teams by analyzing and addressing systemic privilege and bias within communities, organizations, and businesses. Through the lens of race, class, gender, age, sexuality, religion, ability, and more, participants focus on the Humanity 101 values essential to personal and professional success-- compassion, integrity, respect, forgiveness, kindness, empathy, and self-reflection.”

The page lists “a range of diverse audiences” that have gone through the training, including Benedictine University, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, the Arizona Department of Education, Sienna College, University of Central Oklahoma, Gateway Community College, and the University of Portland. 

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The initiative lists several “checklists” for various races, sexual orientations, genders, and socioeconomic statuses. 

Examples of “Black Male Privilege” include the following:

  • “When I read African American History textbooks, I will learn mainly about black men.”

  • “I can rely on the fact that in the near 100-year history of national civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League, virtually all of the executive directors have been male.”

  • “I will be taken more seriously as a political leader than black women.”

  • “I can be a part of a black liberation organization like the Black Panther Party where an ‘out’ rapist Eldridge Cleaver can assume [a] leadership position.”

  • “I have the ability to define black women’s beauty by European standards in terms of skin tone, hair, and body size. In comparison, black women rarely define me by European standards of beauty in terms of skin tone, hair, or body size.”

  • “I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of having my hair conforming to any standard image of beauty the way black women do.”

  • “I have the privilege of not wanting to be a virgin, but preferring that my wife or significant other be a virgin.”

  • “I can live in a world where polygamy is still an option for men in the United States as well as around the world.”

  • “I come from a tradition of humor that is based largely on insulting and disrespecting women; especially mothers.”

  • “Most of [the] lyrics I listen to in hip-hop perpetuate the ideas of males dominating women, sexually and socially.”

  • “I can believe that the success of the black family is dependent on returning men to their historical place within the family, rather than in promoting policies that strengthen black women’s independence, or that provide social benefits to black children.”

  • “I have the privilege of believing that feminism is anti-black.”

  • “I will make significantly more money as a professional athlete than members of the opposite sex will.”

  • “If I go to an HBCU, I will have incredible opportunities to exploit black women.”

  • “In college, black male professors will be involved in interracial marriages at much higher rates than members of the opposite sex will.”

  • “I have the privilege of marrying outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women marry.”

  • “I have the privilege of knowing men who are physically or sexually abusive to women and yet I still call them friends.”

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Project Humanities has similar privilege checklists for able-bodied individuals, heterosexuals, thin individuals, and Christians. It also lists “pandemic” privileges, such as living in a house or having health insurance. 

The Project Humanities page provides the following definitions of privilege

“Privilege is not: About you. Privilege is not your fault. Privilege is not anything you’ve done, or thought, or said. It may have allowed you to do, or think, or say things, but it’s not those things, and it’s not because of those things. Privilege is not about taking advantage, or cheating, although privilege may make this easier. Privilege is not negated. I can’t balance my white privilege against my female disadvantage and come out neutral. Privilege is not something you can be exempt from by having had a difficult life. Privilege is not inherently bad. Privilege is: About how society accommodates you. It’s about advantages you have that you think are normal. It’s about you being normal, and others being the deviation from normal.”

Although the website says that “privilege is not inherently bad,” the same page goes on to state, “How privilege is bad for the privileged: Privilege makes you blind. Privilege is a big bag of stuff you’re not forced to think about.”

“Almost everyone who is reading this had some form of privilege,” the website states. “If you’re a member of three marginalized groups, in ill health, and poor, you’re still able to access and use the internet, both demonstrating and conferring privilege.”

ASU Undergraduate Student Government Senator Cameron Decker, who is also a Campus Reform correspondent, said in response, “This kind of initiative goes against everything that ASU promotes. Our charter says that we ‘measure our success by whom we include, not by whom we exclude.’ What this initiative does by creating all these separate groups of ‘privileged classes,’ some with different types of privilege over the other, creates a culture of guilt. Instead, I fear that students will feel guilty for who they are. What will happen after that? Our emphasis on equality becomes severely compromised; thereby, excluding many people. It is very counterproductive to the sentiments espoused in our charter.”

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ASU College Republicans President Joseph Pitts told Campus Reform, “It’s worrying that a university would sponsor and promote a line of thinking which threatens public discourse itself. The more and more college students see these lists upon lists of privilege — historical victimhood tallies — the more they get fed up with the woke culture on campus and within academia.”

Pitts continued by saying that “Now, more than ever, universities should stand for free speech. ASU has a great record so far, but continuing to sponsor a seemingly Marxist program is not a good step towards continuing that record.”

ASU student Clay Robinson, who is also a Campus Reform correspondent, said that he is “disappointed that the Humanities Department at ASU would ask students to ‘check their privilege’ for identities they can’t control.” 

“We can agree that there is work that can be done to achieve greater equality on campus and in this nation,” Robinson said. “But making judgments about individuals based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability is not the solution and only seeks to further divide the student body. I would encourage the Humanities Department to consider different ways to reconcile the racial and socioeconomic problems that our nation faces without tearing others down.”

ASU and Project Humanities did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication. 

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