EXCLUSIVE: A look inside a mandatory 'anti-racism' course

The University of Pittsburgh released the syllabus for its newly mandated anti-racism course.

Freshmen will be required to take the one credit class this upcoming fall.

The University of Pittsburgh finalized the syllabus for its mandated, one-credit anti-racism course, which freshman will be required to take.

As outlined in the syllabus, the goal of one of the lectures is to provide an overview of the Reconstruction Amendments and “the agenda of Radical Republicans.”

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Another week’s lesson is titled “Formal Schooling and Anti-Blackness,” which focuses on challenging a student’s past education on American history. 

The students will be asked to “consider how your schooling experiences have taught and mistaught you about the origins of this nation.”

One week’s topic is “How to be Anti-Racist” and the required reading is How to Be an Anti-Racist by Boston University Professor Ibram X. Kendi.

Week 14’s lecture description reads, “Ritual symbols and ritual practices that teach anti-Black and pro-White sentiment become learned and passed on through subtle and unmarked practices.”

Leaders in the Black Lives Matter Movement will also partake in a conversation for one lesson to discuss the “unique challenges of organizing for change in the current political climate.”

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Some of the readings mentioned in the syllabus include The White Space by Elijah Anderson and End Autocracy of Color by John Q. Adams. 

The syllabus says the objective is to grapple with three key areas including “roots, ideology, and resistance to anti-Black racism.” The course outcome is for students to leave the course with an introduction to “the Black radical tradition, resistance to Anti-Black racism, and strategies to be anti-racist in everyday life.”

The university included a link on the same page on which it published the syllabus, which directs readers to “review Frequently Asked Questions regarding the course,” titled “Anti-Black Racism: History, Ideology, and Resistance.” The FAQ page states that “all full-time, first-year students on the Pittsburgh and Bradford campuses will be auto-enrolled in the PITT 0210 course for the fall 2020 semester,” adding that “the course is mandatory. You cannot drop it.”

UPitt also linked to a video featuring Department of Africana Studies Chair Yolanda Covington-Ward explaining how the university decided on a name for the new course. 



Campus Reform reached out to UPitt for additional comment but did not hear back in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JezzamineWolk