A private liberal arts college in Minnesota requires faculty and staff to attend monthly “anti-racism” training sessions, most of which are segregated by skin color. The monthly trainings are a result of black student demands.
The College Fix reported that Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, mandates the trainings, but some employees are not happy with being told they are racist every month. The Fix reported on slides from the March 2021 affinity group meetings, which are separated by skin color. One slide stated: “We’ve been told that in some groups that after saying that there’s no racial problem at Carleton some people just refuse to participate.”
Trainers allege the people who make such claims are perpetuating racism, the Fix reported.
“This is uncomfortable, but totally predictable,” the slide adds. “After all, a refusal to acknowledge racism as real helps keep the system intact.”
The Fix reported that the multi-year initiative, which includes the monthly trainings, is the result of protests from students last year following the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd while in police custody. At Carleton, a group of 13 students calling themselves the Ujamaa Collective delivered a 10-page document to college leadership titled “Our Demands.”
“We, as black students at Carleton, desire to see our institution take swift, clear, and forceful actions on issues that affect the mortality [of] Black people and the wellbeing of Black students,” the letter began.
From the Fix:
The message admitted “there is a ready acknowledgment by faculty, staff, and students of the egregious and heinous nature of the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Michael Brown, and Dana Martin, Matthew Lee, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Chynal Lindsey, and so many others.”
Nevertheless, the Ujamaa Collective insisted, “there also needs to be a recognition that black students at Carleton are not always made to feel safe, supported, or equal to their peers.”
“Carleton prides itself on ‘diversity,’ yet we do not see the mechanisms implemented nor the resources deployed by the College to ensure the safety, security, and viability of Black students,” the message stated.
The students demanded that they “receive financial compensation” because “Black students bear the burden of promoting and addressing issues facing the Black community, receiving no material support from the College.”
Another demand was for Carleton to begin “mandatory anti-racist training for all incoming and current faculty, staff, administrators, and students.” To do so, the students demanded, Carleton “must contract independent Black anti-racist trainers to underscore the importance of racial, religious, gender, and sexual diversity.”
Carleton, according to the Fix, gave the 13 students most of what they wanted.
“Student leaders have been thoughtful, thorough, and firm in their insistence on change, and we agree with their assessment that change is essential and overdue. As we think further about what it will take to dismantle institutionalized racism and transform Carleton into a college that lives up to our collective aspirations, we must address gaps in equity and justice on campus – gaps we are turning to with urgency and attention. As a first step, anti-racism training facilitated by non-Carleton personnel will be required of all faculty and staff,” Carleton leadership wrote in a response letter last summer signed by the college president and half-a-dozen deans and vice presidents.
The trainings include segregated sessions called “affinity groups,” which separate employees by skin colors. The person who leads the white affinity groups co-wrote a book titled “Becoming a White Anti-Racist.”
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