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Indiana University To Have 'Interactive Privilege Simulator' For MLK Day

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When Indiana University marks the birthday of civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, its “IUnity Summit” will focus on white privilege.

“This year’s program will include an interactive privilege simulator that will provide participants the opportunity to gain perspective on how various racial, gender, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, religious, and ability-centered identities impact the lived experiences and opportunities of minoritized people and communities,” the college said on the web page devoted to its King Day activities.

Monica Johnson, director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, explained to the Indiana Daily Student, the college’s student newspaper, how the event will work.

“We will be turning Alumni Hall into a game board. Around the room will be various stations representing essential entities and systems within life: housing, employment, education, finance, healthcare and the judicial system.”

She said that the program will explore power, privilege and systemic oppression. Students will be given a tag with their identity for the game, and then move through the various stations, facing the challenges that their identity faces.

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Students will receive an encrypted identity tag and be instructed to move forward to make decisions and navigate each station as they see fit, Johnson said.

Johnson said the goal of the event is to drive home to students the existence of systemic oppression, forms of discrimination and how they can be changed or navigated.

Does this program sound like a good way to honor MLK?

“Although they are difficult to dismantle completely, it is our responsibility to disrupt these systems and advocate for transformative change,” Johnson said.

Not everyone agrees that white privilege is worth the fuss.

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Although King’s message was often about unity, many activists focus upon claims of white privilege — that being born white allows those members of society greater power and access to opportunity.

Georgia historian Keri Leigh Merritt is one of those, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted.

“Whether pitting laborers of different races against each other, stoking racial fears through a (sensationalist) and profit-driven media, or politically scapegoating entire ethnic groups, America’s white elite have successfully modernized age-old strategies of using racism to prevent the formation of a broad coalition of people along class lines — and across racial lines,” Merritt wrote in “Keeping Poor Whites and Blacks Apart: A Southern Tradition.”

She said only taxation and welfare programs administered by government can erase white privilege.

“Given our history of slavery, the failures of land reform after emancipation, and the various barriers to success for African-Americans under Jim Crow, it’s nearly impossible to bridge the racial wealth gap without some sort of policy-driven wealth redistribution. And without that, the playing field will never be leveled,” she said.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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