by Guy Page
A University of Vermont professor is speaking out publicly against what he calls “a new kind of discrimination on campus”: whiteness.
In a March 8 video entitled “Racism and the Secular Religion at the University of Vermont”, Prof. Aaron Kindsvatter, Associate Professor in the College of Education and Social Services, worries that “a chain of logic in which other persons will be defined by their racial categories….will divide us further in a time when we need to unite as one people.”
A student group called the Sisters of Color has called for Kindsvatter’s resignation. “Not a chance,” Kindsvatter said in a subsequent video. Leadership in the University and the College of Education and Social Services (CESS) say Kindsvatter’s views do not represent UVM or CESS, according to the Vermont Cynic.
“There’s a new kind of discrimination on campus that’s going on that I really feel that we need to talk about, and I think that everybody is afraid to talk about it, and this discrimination is against whiteness.”
– Prof. Aaron Kindsvatter
For Vermonters (like this author) not ‘up’ on Critical Race Theory terms like ‘whiteness,’ the following definition by CRT proponent Dr. Monnica T. Williams is republished from the June 13, 2020 Psychology Today:
“What is Whiteness? An unfairly privileged exclusionary category, based on physical features, most notably a lack of melanin.
While one can be proud of one’s German heritage, French Canadian culture, American nationality, or African American ethnicity, one should not be proud of one’s Whiteness. Whiteness is a forced group membership that originated by oppressing people of color. And, it causes psychological and spiritual damage to White people just as it damages non-Whites. White Americans are imbued with Whiteness from infancy, they do not choose it for themselves.”
Kindsvatter worries that discrimination against ‘whiteness’ will actually stimulate hate.
It speaks so eloquently to our tribal impulses that the same logic that informs what’s currently being called whiteness right now can easily find its way to desperate persons who need a group to hate…
“Would you please stop reducing my personhood to a racial category in your teach-ins. It does not feel good. Also it initiates a chain of logic in which other persons will be defined by their racial categories. It will divide us further in a time when we need to unite as one people.”
Sisters of Color has started a petition calling for Kindsvatter’s resignation. A petition supporting Kindsvatter now has 2722 signatures.
Kindsvatter’s video provoked many expressions of support on his You Tube page, including this comment:
“You can not “cure” racism with a structured legalized new racism. It’s ludicrous. You also can’t assume any person wants racism esp not due to the color of their skin, that’s ludicrous. The way to help inequality is to mindfully open doors to all people, to any path deemed desirable. Vilifying an entire race of people for crimes there is no way to prove or defend against is —- Third Reich stuff.”
Williams insists that whiteness is ultimately not pigmentation but is a closed state of mind that is up to the white person to open. “Continuing to accept unjust benefits that ultimately come at the expense of others is antisocial and unethical,” she said in Psychology Today. It causes the beneficiaries (e.g., White Americans) to have a stake in not acknowledging, seeing, or changing the problematic status quo. Upton Sinclair famously said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
Categories: Society & Culture