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Student Senate members to target white privilege issues

February 25, 2010

The UW-River Falls student senate will be sending up to five students to the 11th annual White Privilege Conference (WPC) from April 7-10 in La Crosse, Wis. The conference serves as a yearly opportunity to examine and explore difficult issues related to white privilege, white supremacy and oppression, according to the event’s Web site.

There is expected to be approximately 1,500 people from 40 states who represent numerous sectors of our workforce, and include high school and college students, grass roots activists, educators, members of the spiritual community, musicians and artists, according to the Web site.

“White privilege is the concept that simply because one is Caucasian, there are inherent benefits within the framework of our society,” Student Senate Representative Lee Monson said.”The conference attempts to make its attendees aware of this privilege and attempts, through awareness, to heal this rift between peoples.”

The conference’s theme this year is “Health Inequities: Strategies. Action. Liberation.”

The WPC’s mission is to provide a forum for critical discussions about diversity, multicultural education and leadership, social justice, race/racism, sexual orientation, gender relations, religion and other systems of privilege/oppression, according to the Web site.

This conference is about critically examining the society in which we live and working to dismantle systems of power, prejudice, privilege and oppression, according to the Web site.

“It is important to send students to the White Privilege Conference because it is not well known and is a relatively new concept that the students at our university do not quite understand or even realize,” Student Senate Representative Brittany Williams said.
UWRF students are eligible to apply to attend the conference.

Students will be chosen based on the following criteria : campus involvement, leadership potential, diversity experience, enthusiasm/ambition, and individual character. The UWRF Student Senate will sponsor $250 per person, up to five people, to attend the conference. The qualified applicant must agree to pay their own portion of the cost, which is estimated at $100, in addition to travel costs.

They must also prepare a presentation to be given to the Student Senate in open forum, explaining the messages and valuable lessons from the trip within one month of returning, or pay for the Student Senate’s contribution for the trip. In addition, they must prepare or assist in preparing a presentation board of the trip and participants to be displayed in the Student Senate office for publicity of the trip.

They must also agree to represent the University and its students with dignity and professionalism, according to the Student Senate flyer advertising the conference.

“The five people that will be sent to this conference will be expected not only to further their own awareness, but to bring the knowledge they acquire from the conference back to campus,” Monson said.  “How that knowledge is dispersed will depend largely on the campus involvement of the selected students, but a general presentation on what was learned will be given at a Student Senate meeting following the conference.”

The Student Senate is still working on putting together a search and screen committee.

To supplement the committee and are currently asking certain members of the student leadership and faculty if they would like to take part in the screening process, according to Monson. Applications are due to Senator Brittany Williams at 11:59 p.m. on March 1, and the search and screen committee will meet on the following Wednesday, March 3, to decide on the participants for the conference.

Comments

Toby on 31 Mar 2010: Questions to ask at the white privilege conference: 1. how do you differentiate between a privilege and an advantage? 2. who decides when a privilege is white? 3. many privileges are earned-who decides that their not? 4. when you get rid of white privileges who will get them instead? 5. does a muslim man in Yemen have white privilege or brown privilege? 6. many white people have more privileges than other white people-how will that be handled? 7. I'm white and won't give up any of my privileges/now what will you do? and 8: make a list of countries/ethnic groups where some sort of privileges (whether fair or unfair) exist.

Toby on 29 Mar 2010: The primary goal of the white privilege movement is not to end racism but to perpetuate the notion that white people, no matter what they ssay and do, are racist. Thus, according to a book called the First R-little 3 year old white kids are already setting the stage for racial power and control. White people who have little or no interaction with pocs are accused of sub-conscious racism. Readers of history will recognize the language the white privilege movement spouts out. It is the language of the though terminating cliche. Those who follow the party line use such workds as progressive, justice, equality and anti-racist...those on the other side are: imperialists, white, heterosexual male or colonialists. What does this movement want from white people? simple enough; white people must confess to sins they have committed in the past, present and future. However, unlike religion which promises forgiveness the white privilege movement demands repeat performances of confession. I suggest that the people who plan/attend such conferences move their next one to Pakistan or Saudi-Arabia to discover some real places of privilege and oppression,

Lirit on 05 Mar 2010: Wow. I knew this school had race issues, but the comments prove it. There's nothing even to debate with, just straight up hate from country kids still hanging on to their grandparent's mentality. "Facts": It's not even the same issue. Everything you said was stereotypical and racist. "Truth": Oppressed or impoverished people have a tendency to feel like the law isn't working for them, but against them. This creates a new sub-system of laws that supports that community. This usually leads to the community disregarding the laws of the area and becoming "deviant". Happened to the Irish in NYC and Boston, happened to the Italians in Jersey. Don't throw numbers around and think you're proving something.

Paul on 04 Mar 2010: What in the hell is white privilege? Honestly...

Phil on 01 Mar 2010: White priviledge is an everyday reality. Whites get preferencial treatment in job placement, hate crime laws, and can get into college with lower grades just for being white. They have casinoes (tax excempt) just because of their race. The have all sorts of white clubs, white entertainment television, white congressional caucus, and over 95% percent of whites vote for the white candidate just because he is white. Thanks for your bravery, young men and women. You are truly standing up to the establishment.

Laurent Kabila on 02 Mar 2010: Why don’t we compare the living conditions of whites living under black rule with the living conditions of blacks living under white rule to see who’s REALLY “privileged”. Of course, you won't publish this comment since it destroys your naive and illogical "progressive" worldview using only one sentence..

Truth on 02 Mar 2010: Seattle homicides for 2008: http://bit.ly/ctk4wJ. An informed reading reveals that blacks committed 14 of the 28 killings in Seattle that year. Blacks make up 8% of Seattle. Seattle homicides for 2009: http://bit.ly/4w8zgK. An informed reading reveals that twelve of the 21 murders in Seattle in 2009 were committed by blacks, only 8% of Seattle. Therefore over half the murders in Seattle are committed by blacks, even though blacks make up a tiny percentage of Seattle. Of the 27 officers that were shot and killed by criminals in the last 20 years in King and Pierce county, 21 of them were shot by black men, even though black men make up less than 3% of the combined populations of those counties. Let's look at some stats in Atlanta. According to cityrating.com Atlanta's population is 431,043. There are about 149 murders per year in Atlanta (4.5 times the national average). Let's check out Portland, OR with a population of 545,271. Portland, with a population over 100,000 more than Atlanta, has about 27 murders. Portland = 76% white, only about 7% black. Atlanta = 31% white, 61% black. How about New York City? http://bit.ly/ROLls New York Times - New York City Interactive Homicide Map: Blacks = 60% of the killers, 60% of the victims; Whites = 7% of the killers, 8% of the victims; Blacks = 26% of NYC population; Whites = 35% of NYC population. So what do we surmise with these stats? Answer: More black people equals more murders.

FACTS on 02 Mar 2010: Discussions of “white privilege” should be treated by law enforcement with the same attention as anything that incites racial hatred and violence. Teaching blacks to resent whites for “privilege” is dangerous to other whites. Blacks have very little control over their emotions and anger. The can strike out violently with very little provocation. If they are seeing all white people as having “privilege” based upon a systemic racism that institutionalizes white power, then blacks are walking time bombs and could explode in your face at any moment with robbery, rape, and murder. They call it “we be kepp’n it real”. Whites who teach blacks about white privilege are race traitors and should be treated as enemies of the state. Blacks who mention white privilege should be arrested for inciting violence.

@ on 01 Mar 2010: If Whites really had special privileges would a conference like this be allowed?