MADISON, Wis. – The annual White Privilege Conference sells itself as a gathering of people who want to bring all Americans closer together in an effort to build a more just society.
“WPC is a conference that examines the challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world,” the organization’s website says.
“It is not a conference designed to attack, degrade or beat up on white folks. It is committed to a philosophy of ‘understanding, respecting and connecting.’”
That sounds like a worthy enough event for the thousands of K-12 school administrators and teachers who flock to the conference every year, with their fees and travel costs covered by taxpayers. This year’s event will be held in April in Philadelphia.
But is the message conveyed to those educators really about racial tolerance and cooperation, and making the American dream more accessible to everyone?
Or is it an opportunity for radical left wing activists to attack the United States, white citizens and fundamental foundations of American culture, like Christianity and free market economics?
EAGnews sent a reporting team to the 2014 White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. The comments made by various speakers at the event, recorded on video, tell us everything we need to know about the White Privilege movement.
It’s definitely not about “understanding, respecting and connecting.”
The U.S. is castigated as an evil, unjust nation that goes out of its way to keep people of color trapped in poverty and second-class citizenship.
“Racism is central to America,” said Professor Adrien Wing of the University of Iowa during her remarks to the conference. “It’s central to how the country was developed. It is central to how it operates right now. And if you don’t understand that you can’t actually understand how the country is developing and has developed.”
If the conference does not mean to “attack, degrade or beat up on white folks,” it has some work to do in that area.
“And then there are the little white families who live in the little white zones in little white gated communities and send their kids to little white academies,” said activist Leonard Zeskind during a conference workshop.
When asked if he thought those families live in gated communities because they are racist, Zeskind replied, “I sure the **** do.”
Some people might suggest that the U.S. has made significant progress in civil rights and social mobility for citizens of color. They might mention that President Barack Obama is black, and was elected with the votes of millions of white people in 2008 and 2012.
But the president is really just a pawn being used by the master race, according to Wing.
“The master’s house has a black face, but it’s still the master’s house,” the professor told her audience. “(Obama) works for the master of the system of white privilege.”
Cherished American constitutional principles, like freedom of speech, were also attacked at the conference, despite the fact that free speech allowed the conference participants to express their views without fear of recrimination.
Free speech, according to Wing, should be reserved for those with acceptable progressive points of view.
“The United States has the most open notion of freedom of speech in the world,” Wing said. “Many countries in the world, mainly western countries … for instance in Germany you cannot talk about the Nazis. In the U.S. you can talk about the Nazis. Not in Germany. You can’t buy Nazi memorabilia. Not in Germany. In South Africa you can’t talk about apartheid if you want apartheid.
“So even in western, liberal democracies there will be … there are certain things we do not do and do not say because they do hurt people and can lead people, through those words, to commit crimes against other people.
“But in the U.S., because of our understanding of this terminology, we end up all using so much language that is incredibly hurtful and painful … so how will we work on that at the local, state, national and international level?”
There is no tolerance for Christianity at the conference, or the people who practice that faith.
“So what do I mean by Christian hegemony?” said author Paul Kivel during a conference workshop. “Um … very simply, I define it as the everyday, pervasive, deep seated and institutionalized dominance of Christian values, Christian institutions, leaders, and Christians as a group, primarily for the benefit of Christian ruling elites. So that’s very similar to how we might define racism or sexism or other systems of oppression.”
Only Christians, or those who live like them, have a chance for success in America, according to Kivel.
“So there’s certainly a lot of Jews who, not a lot but there are some Jews who have been successful and assimilated up there,” the author said. “And of course some African-Americans. We can think of Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, people like that.
“So it’s a Christian culture and Christian framework, and some people can make it if they live like the white Christian men who are running things.”
The American free enterprise system, which allows so many ordinary people to open small and medium-sized businesses that employ millions of Americans, is also attacked.
If you believe in free enterprise, you are a racist, according to Professor Stephanie Baran.
“So in this particular study, um, it showed if you are more inclined toward free market capitalism you have a higher tendency of holding ethnocentric (racist) values,” Baran said.
“For me, capitalism is the all-consuming thing. Capitalism maintains white supremacy, white privilege, racism, sexism, patriarchy, um, hetero-normality. You name it, capitalism.”
So how do all of these angry and divisive ideas impact those who attend the White Privilege conferences – particularly the thousands of school administrators and teachers who participate?
Consider the words of one conference participant, who identified herself as a “white ally.”
“We the people, so, when you go back to the Constitution, we the people, who was that? White men. Land owning. Wealthy. Christian. They claimed to be straight at the time. Who knows?”
Was that woman an educator? If so, is that the message she too back to her students in some American school?
If so, do we really want schools spending public dollars to send employees to this event?
It’s a question worth asking.