Master’s candidate submits thesis on 'Teaching White Privilege’
‘Denying the existence of privilege, specifically White privilege, allows people to ignore racial inequalities and aids in the perpetuation of injustice,' the thesis reads.
Four Modules of Privilege are recommended to teach to students.
Morgan Browning, a graduate student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (UAF), submitted her thesis this May encouraging education regarding "white privilege" in southern universities.
The thesis, titled “Teaching White Privilege at a Southern University: A Multi-Method Approach," opens with Browning expressing her desire that her work will help people in “[e]liminating racism.”
“Eliminating racism begins with education and awareness on all societal levels. Denying the existence of privilege, specifically White privilege, allows people to ignore racial inequalities and aids in the perpetuation of injustice,” the abstract reads.
Browning explains that people of color experience “varying degrees of racism” while others “have the privilege to ignore its existence.”
According to Browning, “[m]any Arkansas politicians are continuously attempting to ban trainings, initiatives, and classroom discussions regarding these topics,” putting the blame for ‘systemic’ racism at the feet of conservative state leaders.
Naturally, Browning links conservative principles to “opposition to conversations about privilege and race,” arguing that a more “racial [diverse]” legislature is key to unraveling racism.
"The lack of racial diversity and the tendency towards political conservatism within the Arkansas legislator could be a few of the reasons behind the opposition to conversations about privilege and race," Browning writes.
Browning states that White people often attribute their success to hard work and dedication while failing to recognize the disadvantages of people of color. She also claims that the denial of White privilege is proof of its existence.
“The existence of White privilege is often denied by those who benefit from it,” Browning explains.
Browning recommended a series of Modules on Privilege be taught online to students.
The first module explains the history of racism in the U.S.
The second asks students to “reflect on a time when they have noticed their own or someone else’s White privilege.”
In the third module, students are supposed to seek out White privilege in their own lives. It also encourages students to take on collective guilt, having the purpose of informing "participants of the reason why everyone should take responsibility for past and present racism and discrimination."
Finally, the fourth module suggested a series of lectures discussing what “participants can do once they understand White privilege” and how students can discuss their own experiences with “privilege, racism, and discrimination.”
Once students complete all four modules, they will be given a Certificate of Completion by the UAF School of Social Work.
Towards the end of her thesis, Browning suggests that universities implement the Modules on Privilege in classrooms, faculty and staff trainings, and in the field of social work.
She concluded that implementing this program would aid in “breaking down the social structures that perpetuate privilege and oppression.”
Browning’s work showcases a change in education from politically neutral, original research, to seeking to confirm liberal ideologies from the outset.
The Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion hosts training modules similar to those outlined in Browning’s thesis.
UA also gives workshops like “OUCH! That Stereotype Hurts” to learn about your biases and stereotypes. UA’s Graduate Schools additionally hosts a “Social Justice Series” designed to “[address] inequities and efforts to become an anti-racist campus.”
Browning’s thesis is simply the latest attempt to inject race into all aspects of education.
Campus Reform reached out to the University of Arkansas and made the best attempt to contact Browning.
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