Days before the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, an assistant dean of Graduate Student Affairs at Brandeis University, who is white, wrote on Instagram that “all white people are racist” and that she hated “whiteness.” Kate Slater, a self-described “racial justice scholar and educator,” wrote, “Yes, all White people are racist in that all White people have been conditioned in a society where one’s racial identity determines life experiences/outcomes and Whiteness is the norm and the default. That includes me! I don’t hate white people — I hate whiteness.”
Slater defended Critical Race Theory, writing:
“Debates” about Critical Race Theory are often straw men about whether or not systemic racism is real, and no number of statistics or facts that I could offer up are going to convince people to “see” systemic racism if they don’t want to. Yes, all White people are racist in that all White people have been conditioned in a society where one’s racial identity determines life experiences/outcomes and Whiteness is the norm and the default. That includes me! I don’t hate white people — I hate whiteness. To distinguish between the two, please feel free to watch my recent live “What Is Whiteness?” CRT does not create oppression. It names oppression that already exists.
In another Instagram post, Slater wrote:
For all white folkx, I invite you to take a moment today and reflect on the past year — a year of “racial reckoning.” How have you been paying attention, interrupting, and holding yourself accountable? How will you commit and recommit to racial justice, to disrupting and divesting from whiteness, and to building a more equitable world that’s free of racial subjugation?
In a virtual speech hosted by the University of New Hampshire, Slater announced her pronouns were “she and hers,” adding, “the most important aspect of my personality identity for purposes of this conversation is that I am a white woman.” She acknowledged, “I do want to put out the big caveat that I’m in no way shape or form an expert on the history of race and racism. … I don’t believe that it’s possible for a white person to be an expert in race and racism. I don’t think we can be an expert in something that we enact versus something that we experience.”
She added, “White people need to sit back and shut up right now. … Your own opinions right now as white people do not matter, quite frankly. You have not experienced racism. You represent the oppressor. So do not for one hot minute think that your voice or your journey or your story outweighs the experience of people who have actually experienced racism. Do not presume you know better. Do not presume even that you know different.”