Trent University in Ontario is scheduled to hold a workshop on Monday called “It’s OK to be (Against) White(ness).”
According to a description of the event on Facebook, the workshop will not address white people per se, but the “ways that white racialization is socially constructed as dominant, both historically and in the present moment.”
“This normalization of Whiteness makes it difficult for students racialized as white to even notice these ideologies; ‘being normal’ and centering the positions of the dominant group as normal requires making these processes invisible,” the event description reads. “At this event, we are challenging students to begin to notice, understand and resist the powerful ways that Whiteness works.
The title of the event is a reference to the “It’s OK to be White” posters that were hung up on Canadian and U.S. campuses last year.
The event description says these posters were “racist,” “divisive” and “offensive” and were “revealed to be tied to white nationalist agendas.”
The keynote speaker at the workshop is Michael Cappello, an assistant professor of education at the University of Regina, who is described as a “white settler” and “anti-oppressive educator.” His research focuses on “teaching/learning against colonialism and teaching/learning into reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.”
Students and outside observers have condemned the workshop for using the same racist rhetoric that it claims to counteract.
In a March 2 editorial, the Toronto Sun accused the event’s organizers of adopting “divisive, racist tactics to get their message out.”
“It is the definition of bigotry,” the editorial read, “not the antidote to it.”
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