The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) is kicking off their spring semester focus on social justice with a discussion of “white allyship” and accountability. The virtual session, titled, “Moving Forward Together: White Allies and Accountability,” is part of Moving Our Campus (MOC) Forward, a series of events and talks focused on equity and inclusion. Facilitators mentioned that this first session falls within the overarching theme for their 2020-2021 schedule: dismantling racism.
The event host, Dr. Beth Douthirt-Cohen, is a facilitator at the Social Justice Training Institute (SJTI) and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Executive Director at Frederick Community College.
The Tennessee Star reached out to Douthirt-Cohen to inquire about the meaning of “white ally” and the forms of accountability that would be discussed in their seminar. Douthirt-Cohen didn’t respond by press time. Spokespersons with the Diversity and Equity Inclusion Office didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time, either.
According to a variety academia echelons, white allies are those who acknowledge the inherent privilege of their race and role within the alleged ongoing oppression against other races, especially Black people. Even if a White person doesn’t believe they are racist, they likely are guilty of “unconscious racism,” commit “microaggressions,” and harbor “implicit biases,” to name a few indiscretions. Accordingly, a true white ally engages in “anti-racism,” by advocating non-stop for racial justice, such as in policing or education, and fighting against racism.
These beliefs fall in line with Critical Race Theory training, banned by previous President Donald Trump and recently reversed by President Joe Biden.
The virtual seminar is scheduled for January 28th at 12:30 p.m. CST. Future session topics from MOC Forward are titled, “A Discussion of Race and Sexuality,” “Looking Back at UTC and Chattanooga’s Black History,” and “Doing Self Work.”
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