UMass-Amherst’s Mandatory Social Justice Classes Denounce ‘White Privilege’, ‘Cultural Imperialism’

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By Ian Miles Cheong | 2:09 pm, February 10, 2017

Colleges are institutions of learning, not centers for indoctrination. But some schools are making “social justice” classes mandatory for students who want to acquire their degrees and diplomas.

A student in one such program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst has given a long interview detailing what actually happens in the classroom day to day—revealing some of the exercises that students are put through and the “facts” that are pushed on them.

The premise of “Education 115: Embracing Diversity” at UMass- Amherst is that the U.S. is a nation of racism and bigotry. In the class, students were told to act out examples of racism to prove America is racist “from A to Z,” recognize the existence of “white privilege,” the dominion of men over women, and come up with ways to fight these societal ills.

The class taught students terms like “privilege,” “internalized classism,” and “cultural imperialism,” and asked students what they could do to end classism on campus.

Students were further instructed to create a mock campaign to make the university more inviting to a hypothetical low-income black lesbian majoring in engineering. Meanwhile, a “Man Box” assignment taught students the dangers of asserting masculine values.

The student told The College Fixp that the professor, Benita Barnes, taught students that the United States was a nation overrun by sexism and racism, and that she believed the university was an extension of the country’s problems. “There were no real discussions,” he said. “There [were] no debates or anything like that. It was just these are the facts and that was it.”

The student said that the professor was often combative with students who questioned her or disagreed with what she was saying.

The College Fix published a couple of course assignments given to students, including the one instructing students to come up with a campaign to make the school more welcoming to the hypothetical minority enrollee. In that “case study,” the hypothetical black lesbian faces racism from her roommate and must deal with a “male-centric” engineering department with a sexist bias against female students.

It’s not the first time the college has been in the spotlight for the way social justice battles are playing out on campus. Last year, trans-activists staged a “shit in” protest by camping out in bathroom stalls in administration buildings.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.

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