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California College Hosts Discussions On Whiteness, Faculty Member Gets Called ‘Disgusting Racist’

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A California State University, Fresno faculty member was called a “disgusting racist” for a planning a discussion with students about “white culture,” “what it means to be white,” and the first time they saw themselves as white during a “Discussing Whiteness” forum in early February. 

Jessica Adams, coordinator of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center at California State University, Fresno, hosted the first discussion Friday of what she says will be a series.

Prior to this first event, Adams reports she received an email from someone decrying her as a “disgusting racist worthless human [you] should be ashamed of yourself” and that the individual said he would be seeing Adams at the event “along with many others.”

“It makes me nervous, but it’s expected,” noted Adams, who told the police about the email. “As you can see nationally, it’s very standard when white people who want to keep the status quo and don’t want things to change. They are invested in keeping white people in power. If they sense that you’re going to talk about whiteness being power, they get very afraid. For me that’s where that comes from. It’s racist.”

“Everybody is welcome as long [sic] your goal is moving forward with social justice and you’re invested in equality and society,” said Adams. Media, however, are prohibited from coming to the event.

Adams also conducts graduate research on race, namely “whiteness in student affairs.”

Future discussions in the series will focus on “white fragility, privilege, the idea of a white savior, and how to talk to others about whiteness.” Adams sends readings out via email prior to the discussions.

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