Stanford students start ‘disrupting whiteness’ club

Students at Stanford University can join a “Disrupting Whiteness” club in an effort to end the “white liberal apathy” and “white privilege” of their peers.

The club, formally known as Disrupting Whiteness: Stanford University, was founded under the leadership of recent graduate Micaela Suminski as a way to “get more students to learn about, discuss, and educate others about whiteness.”

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“White students must step up to educate themselves and those around them,” a club description states, adding that “white students can and should do a lot more than we currently do in when it comes to race education and anti-racist action.”

The group recently attracted attention after Suminski published a document following the Charlottesville riots in which she sought to teach white people how they can “step up,” listing efforts such as advocating for the renaming of plazas and giving money “to actual black, brown, and Jewish people.”

Suminski explained to Campus Reform that she launched the group because she wanted to create a place “where white people could learn more about how white supremacy operates, educate other white people, and act productively to dismantle it.”

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She went on to emphasize the role capitalism plays in perpetuating white privilege, saying that one way students can “disrupt whiteness” is by understanding “the way that capitalism is working in conjunction with the history of the United States in order to really grasp the magnitude of the issue on our hands.”

While Suminski noted that some structures of white privilege are too deeply ingrained in society to be changed (citing the prison industrial complex as an example), she told Campus Reform that every white person “can do things to work against these skewed systems,” such as “talking with coworkers, relatives, and friends about implicit bias or the dangers of white supremacy; buying from POC-owned businesses; [or] donating money.”

Although the Disrupting Whiteness group’s meetings are open to people of color, its “emphasis and primary goal” is “for white people to educate each other,” which the group warns prospective attendees will require them to make a consistent time commitment.

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“If you are serious about living your life in an anti-racist fashion, then reading articles from the comfort of your bed is not enough,” the group states.“You do not get to say that you ‘do Disrupting Whiteness’ if you never show up to meetings or engage with us. Reading articles is a great starting point, but it is your responsibility to act against white supremacy institutionally and individually, and encourage others to do so.”

The group launched in September, and currently has more than 200 students on its mailing list, with plans to hold weekly meetings throughout the fall semester.

Campus Reform reached out to Stanford University for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen