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BREAKING: MANDATORY Diversity Training Calls White Males Oblivious to Diversity and Born Privileged

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

“There’s often this obliviousness...of racial privilege and particularly of gender privilege for white males.”

Author: Sergei Kelley

At MSU, new online mandatory diversity training aims to build a more inclusive community by addressing gender and race privileges. The training videos call on faculty to help students “examine their privilege and targeted identity.”

Required for all newly enrolled MSU students, the videos are part of the University's “Diversity & Inclusion eLearning,” to encourage inclusion and prevent students from feeling “othered.” This training is put forward by MSU’s Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.

The first video focuses on inclusion in the classroom and calls out white male students for being oblivious in regards to diversity and their privilege. “There’s often this obliviousness...of racial privilege and particularly of gender privilege for white males.” They hold this privilege by being “members of these social groups,” and are “born with these privileges.”

Noted as a “microaggression,” positioning students of a racial minority to act as a spokesperson for their race in classroom discussion, is “unconsciously expected” by other students and professors.

The video further cites it is often hard to name and analyze the privileges, “in intellectual spaces.”

The challenges for diversity and inclusion are for “minoritized students, but also students who come from positions of privilege.” The first video concludes after calling on faculty to “be very diligent in helping students both examine their privilege and targeted identities.”

A graduate engineering student told The Morning Watch, “how is this video going to change the behavior of a genuinely bigoted person?”

He further said, "not only does MSU sink money into...the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, it appears that each college has a diversity much money is spent on this virtue signaling pandering to minorities?”

The second video, “Terms and Concepts,” defines bias, implicit bias, and overcoming bias. To help overcome bias, MSU programs such as MRULE (Multi Racial Unity Living Experience) or becoming an Intercultural Aide (ICA) were suggested.

“It’s also really important that we make sure students understand what it’s like to be apart of this inclusive community,” the video stated.

“Get around some people that don’t look like you,” stated the final video. It further focused on ways for students “to build collective potential” and inclusion.

In response to the diversity training, MSU student Kara Taylor told The Morning Watch, “This campus is diverse, and many students are brought up in communities where they aren't exposed to such a diverse population. Why should we continue to be close-minded or bigoted when MSU gives us the resources to welcome and embrace everyone's differences?”

Taylor is a senior studying Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy.

MSU has hosted other programs to promote inclusion. Last July, MSU held a $75 employee multicultural workshop in July to focus “on differences rather than similarities.” In addition, last spring MSU created a program to award students with different “intercultural competence” badges.

The Morning Watch did not receive comment from the MSU Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives in time for publication.

Contributor: Sergei Kelley

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