An associate college professor shows everything wrong with anti-racism studies
The Detroit Free Press published an opinion piece from Christina Wyman, who's described as "an adjunct professor at Michigan State University" as well as the co-editor (as Christina Berchini) of an anthology rejoicing under the unwieldy, identity politics name Whiteness at the Table; Antiracism, Racism, and Identity in Education. In her editorial, Wyman tries to argue that it's not enough for white people to confess their sins; instead, they must act. She reveals herself to be a bully, an ignoramus, and a hypocrite.
Wyman opens with the standard Maoist confession: she's white, she lives in a white neighborhood, and she enjoys all the benefits flowing from white privilege — "too many privileges to count and many of which I do not consciously know." Right off the bat, if they're your privileges, and you don't know what they are after years of self-reflection, are you sure you have them, or are you just boasting?
Next, Wyman claims that the Black Lives Matter movement (the same one that has destroyed cities, laid waste to black communities, and spread the Wuhan virus far and wide) is a "sexy topic" and very "seductive, intoxicating and consuming" — but that's just not good enough. In the Church of Black Lives Matter, confession without action is meaningless. Nevertheless, she continues confessing.
It turns out that Wyman lived her first 26 years in ignorant bliss, believing she was just an ordinary person. Then, ten years ago, she discovered that she was a special, privileged person who didn't get followed around in stores or pulled over by police because of her race. It doesn't seem to occur to Wyman that the fact that blacks are statistically more likely to commit criminal acts accounts for their being more likely to find themselves treated like criminals.
Perhaps Wyman would be doing blacks a greater favor were she to say that, as children of God, they are as capable as any other race of conforming to the norms of success: get educated, get a job, get married, have children, and stay out of trouble. It's so much more satisfying for Wyman to proclaim her woke guilt, which she wears as a badge of honor.
But again, says Wyman, it's not enough to confess. One must act — except it's obvious that Wyman doesn't mean she must act. Instead, she wants everyone else to act, demanding of the world at large "political, financial, social and [as a sort of add-on] personal action."
What's fascinating is that it's clear that Wyman has done nothing in the way of personal action. As she admitted, she lives in a safe, white neighborhood. If she meant what she said, she would trade homes with a needy black family and move into the family's home. Wyman also holds a job that could have gone to a black person. She needs to resign on the condition that MSU must hire a black person in her place. Wyman can perhaps get work as a store clerk as her way of expiating her sins.
Not only is Wyman failing to live up to her demands, but she's also a bully:
I've spent the last 10 years teaching predominantly white students about race, racism and privilege. After pleading with my own students to confess to a host of unearned privileges, it finally occurred to me: As with universities across the country, we're attempting to do this work on a predominantly white campus with a history of racist acts against its student of color, many of the official responses to these acts being what I would define as a national embarrassment.
Do you think the students feel that Wyman is "pleading" with them, or do they understand that she's demanding confessions from them in exchange for grades? And please note, again, that Wyman is entirely comfortable with being on MSU's faculty, taking a job a qualified black person could and should have.
Perhaps uncomfortably aware of her hypocrisy, Wyman repeats her point — and her demands on others — as if that obviates the need for her to make sacrifices:
No racist institution was ever dismantled because a group of white people recognized and confessed to their privilege — that is, not without serious political, financial, social and personal action, investment and sacrifice, as with the Minneapolis City Council which is working to dismantle their local police department in the wake of George Floyd's murder.
Wyman may be a professor, but she's ignorant about American history. Slavery, the ultimate insult to any human being, ended in America because white Republicans laid down their lives to defeat the Confederate Democrats' extreme embrace of white privilege. Likewise, the Civil Rights Act came about because of a group of white Republicans in the Senate.
Blissfully unaware of her hypocrisy and her ignorance, and serenely comfortable with her demand that society as a whole, rather than she, personally, should bear the burden of her obsessive guilt, Wyman issues a challenge that she's manifestly failed to meet:
Stop confessing to your privilege and describe the steps you've taken to dismantle the institutions that embolden your privilege in the first place. No teary, attention-seeking confessional required.
Dear Ms. Wyman, now that you've given your teary-eyed (and scolding) confession, please return to us when you've given both your safe white house and your nice white job to someone more deserving than you are. Oh, and take a good history class while you're at it.