‘White Privilege Checklist' appears in Minnesota dorm
- A display in a University of Minnesota residence hall provides an 11-point “checklist” to help students identify their “white privilege.”
- Even a self-described "social progressive" student believes the board "crosses the line," calling it "a one-sided affair" that offers no opportunity for productive dialogue.
A display in a University of Minnesota residence hall provides an 11-point “checklist” to help students identify their “white privilege.”
The “White Privilege Checklist,” found hanging in Mark G. Yudof Hall and photographed by a current student, features 11 statements that ostensibly apply exclusively to white people.
“I can arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time,” the list begins, following up with references to being able to see “people of my color” or “people of my race” in popular culture and discussions of national heritage.
“I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed,” the second item states.
Statement 5 goes on to imply that children of color are not able to learn about their race in the education system, saying white schoolchildren experience privilege through exposure to “curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.”
“I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented,” statement 6 begins, adding that privilege also means finding “the food I grew up with” at the supermarket and encountering “someone who can deal with my hair” at a salon.
“Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial responsibility,” the next bullet point says.
The list concludes with several items suggesting that white people are privileged because their individual behavior or attributes are not taken to be representative of their race as a whole.
“I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing, or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race,” one such statement reads, followed by, “I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking” and “I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.”
Statement 10 addresses a common problem with affirmative action policies, noting that white privilege entails the ability to take a job or enroll in an affirmative action institution “without having my co-workers or peers assume I got it because of my race.”
Evan Christenson, the student who photographed the board, told Campus Reform that he believes the display “attacks the individual and not the idea,” and doesn’t offer opportunities for dialogue about the issue.
“I do believe it crosses the line. When it attacks the individual and not the idea, there is a problem,” Christenson said. “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.”
Christenson also spoke to a larger “double standard” on campus, pointing out that a Trump mural erected in September was vandalized and offended students were offered emotional counseling, yet the privilege board is displayed proudly in Yudof Hall.
“I still consider myself a social progressive but I am quite frankly appalled by the double standard applied to free speech as of late,” he asserted.
Campus Reform reached out to UMN for comment but did not receive a response by press time.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey