UMN Defends “White Privilege” Checklist in Dorm

A two panel display attempts to make white students more aware of their privilege.

The Minnesota Republic's photo is used with permission of the publication.

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota’s Yudof Hall dorm now includes an 11-point checklist on the wall to help students come to grips with their white privilege.

Second-year student Evan Christenson discovered the bulletin board, photographed it, and took it to the press. Christenson described himself as a progressive to Campus Reform, but he still finds the display objectionable.

“I do believe it crosses the line. When it attacks the individual and not the idea, there is a problem,” Christenson told Campus Reform. “I am not inherently racist because I don’t believe in white privilege. I believe there needs to be dialogue on the subject but it needs to more of a give and take and not a one-sided affair.”

The eleven statements on the board cover a variety of societal, financial, and educational situations where minorities ostensibly are more likely to feel targeted.

“The bulletin board in question was posted to help students understand how identity based difference plays out in communities,” Evan Lapiska, UMN’s Director of Public Relations told Alpha News in a statement, “In this case, it helps people think about how racial difference might uniquely impact individuals based on various settings and circumstances.”

Situations on the board include being able to be in the company of people of your own race easily, children receiving “educational materials that testify to the existence of their race,” and “I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.”

The Minnesota Republic, a conservative student paper at UMN, reports that another board next to the first checklist includes action steps, and instructions on how to become an “ally” of minority students.

“If you don’t think white privilege exists, congratulations, you are enjoying the benefits of it,” read the board.

The Minnesota Republic also reports URLs redirecting to were part of the display. CADOF stands for “Conservatives Are Destroying Our Future.” The URL leads to a Tumblr blog filled with anti-Donald Trump, and anti-Republican material. The group’s Facebook page has over 250,000 likes.

“Why are conservatives okay with violence against women?” reads one Tumblr post.

“Save America, impeach Trump,” reads another.

“The website appalled me—I thought it would be something—not as blunt about saying that,” Christenson told the Minnesota Republic,  “I don’t think conservatives are destroying our future; there has to be a give and take between the parties.”

Lapiska said that much of the content in the white privilege display comes from the work of Peggy McIntosh. McIntosh is the former director of the Wellesley College’s Centers for Women,where she is currently a senior fellow.

According to her Wellesley bio, McIntosh “writes and lectures extensively on issues of equity and privilege as they relate to race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.”

“Housing & Residential Life’s goal is to promote and support the success of all of our students,” Lapiska said, “We will make ourselves available to meet with students who feel impacted by the bulletin board and will provide additional resources as needed.”

Anders Koskinen