The checklist, developed by Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt, who teaches English at Linfield College in Oregon, is directed more at white supremacy enablers than it is at card-carrying white supremacists (like our president), though there’s no reason to suppose it can’t be used as a self-help guide. There are no recommendations in Dutt-Ballerstadt’s article at Inside Higher Ed for what you should do if you discover you are a white supremacist, though presumably guns (prized by the Right, loathed by the Left) are part of the solution.
The intended audience of her article interestingly is women of color, especially in academe. For these individuals, she provides a list of “15 qualities and attributes of those that overtly or covertly support or contribute to a culture of mundane and everyday white supremacy within our institutions,” or “troubles” as she calls them for some reason.
Among the troubles she sees:
- You work in a position of power in a predominantly white institution, and while you claim to be working for social justice, you do nothing to change the white supremacist power structures within your departments, committees and institutional decision-making process.
- When your colleagues who are marginalized complain to you about their “oppressive” work conditions, you think that they are difficult.
- When you are asked to nominate your students and faculty colleagues for awards or leadership positions, your first instinct is to nominate those that are “stellar” (mostly men) and obviously “white.” It doesn’t occur to you that you are implicitly supporting a logic of meritocracy that is built on this racist assumption that everyone has had the same access and opportunities.
- You never fail to articulate publicly your commitment for increasing diversity within your institution, but when on a hiring committee you express your strong hesitance to let go of your stellar candidate in exchange for a candidate who you perceive as only adding to your institution’s diversity mission.
The list goes on, offering more examples of scenarios that reinforce the going liberal assumptions that whiteness, maleness, and meritocracy are evils.
The last sentence of the article makes another assumption:
If you have made it to this point, you are probably feeling quite hypervisible or fragile and have decided to have some hot chamomile tea from a cup that reads ‘White Tears’ or ‘Black Lives Matter.’”
I don’t about you, but I feel more like barfing.