Mount Royal University Mandatory Anti-Racism Course
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Mount Royal University Mandatory Anti-Racism Courses
Recent events on our campus have shown us just how invested this institution is in white supremacy and the lengths it will go to in order to deflect responsibility for harm doing and stock-taking of its possessive investments in whiteness.
In the words of George Lipsitz: “The problem with white people is not [their] whiteness, but [their] possessive investment in it. Created by politics, culture, and consciousness, [their] possessive investment in whiteness can be altered by those same processes, but only if [they] face the hard facts openly and honestly and admit that whiteness is a matter of interests as well as attitudes, that it has more to do with property than with pigment. Not all believers in white supremacy are white. All white people do not have to be white supremacists. But the possessive investment in whiteness is a matter of behavior as well as belief, it requires us to take action, not merely assert good intentions. (...) In the years ahead we will have ample opportunities to see what white people are made of, to see whether [they] can transcend [their] attachments to the mechanisms that give whiteness its force and power. We need to learn why our history has been built so consistently on racial exclusion and why we continue to generate new mechanisms to increase the value of past and present discrimination. How can we account for the ways in which white people refuse to acknowledge the possessive investment in whiteness even while working to increase its value every day?"
We, therefore, demand that Mount Royal University prioritize harm-reduction and white divestment. We demand real action to be undertaken towards these goals, immediately.
We demand that MANDATORY anti-racism training for all students and faculty be crafted and put forward rapidly. The unlearning of racist behavior, ideology, folkways, and sentiments should not be the burden of BIPOC alone. Racism is first and foremost a white problem that needs to be addressed by white people, including within their most hallowed institutions. Academics in the academic milieu do not exist outside of the purview of society but are very much of it and the way they operate, the population makeup of their institutions, the voices that are consistently coddled and those that are consistently erased and excluded very much translates a hegemony of white desires, demands, violence and orders of knowledge.
"The university is not just its administrators, but also its faculty and students, (...) far from being an ivory tower, it operates within the existing ideological terrain. (...) The administrators have been forced to accommodate a number of decolonial demands. (...) When universities do accommodate decolonial demands, they frequently do so in a way that ensures that they remain marginal and do not bring about structural change in the institution as a whole. (...) Decolonial progress in one area is often accompanied by the reassertion of coloniality in another. That some of us are free to decolonize our curricula exists in parallel with the freedom to continue to exclude Black and Indigenous thought and scholarship."(Julie Cupples)
We are tired of what Lucas Van Milders refers to as "the empty rhetoric of diversity" which only serves to further entrench racism and coloniality. We are tired of externally facing publications that exoticize and folkloricize the university's short supply of diversity whilst changing nothing to the violent white framed status quo. We are tired of dominant positionalities, of the recipients of unearned privileges playing the put-upon victim. We are tired of hate masquerading as “academic freedom” and opposition to it springboarding the manufactured “free speech” crisis. We are tired also of the performative moral superiority of white liberals incapable and unwilling to question the hegemony of white Western knowledge and practices and how they are collectively the group beneficiaries of a system of racial domination. We are tired also of non-Black minoritized peoples with privileges of proximity to whiteness monetizing their experiences and oppressions as interchangeable with those of Black folx whilst retaining their possessive investments in whiteness. Let us be clear: As a non-Black person, to arrogate to oneself the right to use historical scripts and brutalizing imagery of anti-Black trauma, to double down on the exploitation of plurisecular Black death in order to evade interrogations of one’s own anti-Black racist investments, to so callously invest so horrific a trope in order to gain victimization points and inhabit the sanctified space of tokenized diversity in the arena of white validation, to have white benefactors applaud and encourage and greenlight this abjection so that they may feel good and righteous is perhaps the most, the only illustration necessary of the moral constitution of acquiescent members in corporatized white academia. No magical essence unites aggrieved victims of white supremacy and not all aggrieved communities suffer in the same ways from the possessive investment in whiteness. As dictated under capitalism, when competition for scarce resources is at play, proximity to the upper echelons of the racial hierarchy will be leveraged.
We are calling for MRU to take action NOW and to work, relentlessly, towards harm reduction and white divestment before it is, altogether, too late. We demand that the administration:
- Acknowledge HOW this institution, overtly and covertly, perpetuates anti-Blackness and benefits from the possessive investment in whiteness and what is planned to identify and address this.
- Clarify what percentage of its executive leadership and full-time faculty members are BIPOC, and what is planned in addressing and redressing the shortcomings.
- Commit to actively understanding, addressing, dismantling, and combatting systemic racism, discrimination, and intolerance within the institution by introducing ongoing mandatory anti-racism courses for ALL ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL, FACULTY MEMBERS, AND STUDENTS.
- Create an effective initiative where students can safely report racism on campus and they are provided with adequate protection and resources going forward. Furthermore, we suggest that faculty members condemn racism in their course syllabus and inform students of relevant campus-based anti-racist resources.
DISCLAIMER: To ensure that the university can validate that students and faculty are outraged by anti-Black sentiment at this university and that affirmative action can be made please include your first and last name and affiliation in the comment section (Jane Doe, BA Sociology). Otherwise, the university will have no real way to “validate” whether students are from the university or the community.
PHOTO BY POSTMEDIA ARCHIVES
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