Campus Reform | Take a look at University of Northern Iowa’s new online program based in Critical Race Theory

Take a look at University of Northern Iowa’s new online program based in Critical Race Theory

The University of Northern Iowa’s Office of the Provost is running a virtual program titled Cultivating Justice: A Quest Toward Racial Equity

The program has endorsed the work of Ibram X. Kendi and solicited donations for antiracism projects.

The University of Northern Iowa has created a six-week virtual program titled “Cultivating Justice: A Quest Toward Racial Equity” that “prompts individuals and small groups to reflect on a collection of local materials curated to promote racial justice and activate systemic change in our communities.”

The project’s web page notes that “systemic racism...can also occur in everyday technology - even automatic soap dispensers.” 

The project’s first week included stories of discrimination faced by members of the campus community. For instance, a podcast from one alumnus described “the dissonance of existing in the space between his Ghanaian ancestral roots and his Americanized speech.” The materials also contain a link to a resource on "whitesplaining and how to avoid it."

The second week featured a video by a sophomore student who defines terms like "white trash" and "Good White People."

[RELATED: Iowa bill targets colleges that teach New York Times' 'racist' and 'historically inaccurate' 1619 Project]

"When I say 'Good White People,' typically what I mean is a white liberal...when I mention liberal, I'm typically referring to someone who sees themselves as wanting to end racism in the United States and somebody who is not really responsible for the lingering racism within our society today," he says. Though he notes that Good White People exist on both sides of the aisle, he says, "They are typically people who are progressive individuals or [who] see themselves as progressive individuals and want to see the country moving in a more positive direction in reference to race and equality."

The third week pointed students toward resources that explain “systems of oppression” within policing, healthcare, and education. The fourth week of the program encouraged participants to “locate & organize” their efforts in tandem with nearby justice movements.

[RELATED: Ibram Kendi brings his 'antiracist book festival' back to BU]

Among the dozen outlets for activism included Uprising Magazine, a student-led publication which features “dedicated efforts towards enacting social justice through sharing stories and engaging in causes on campus."

Likewise, the fifth week — in which participants were taught how to behave in accordance with antiracism — pointed students toward ways to involve themselves in activism work. One project, the “anti-racism daily newsletter,” was paired with a call for donations to the author's website. 

The sixth and final week of the program granted students the chance to “rest and heal” — a call that has become increasingly common on American college campuses. "We believe rest is a form of resistance and name sleep deprivation as a racial and social justice issue," the weekly slate of resources declares. 

[RELATED: UNC event repeats notion of fighting racism through 'self-care']

University of Northern Iowa spokesman Steven Schmadeke told Campus Reform that the initiative was “a voluntary community project organized by a UNI professor” that was “not a class or course.” 

Schmadeke added that “the costs of this project were minimal,” since it “highlighted a number of existing works, videos, podcasts and other writings on the topic of racial equity.” 

According to the project’s web page, it is sponsored by the UNI Office of the Provost.  Schmadeke noted that the essays, podcasts, graphics, and other content for the project ”were collected via an open call.”

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