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Imagine a graduate classroom in an old church building in a blighted neighborhood at the edge of Detroit’s struggling downtown area in 1997. The class is a seminary course in Social Ethics composed of three female African American savants, four white male wanna-be pastors, and a white male professor. Two-thirds of the way through the course, the women suddenly “throw down.” “We have now studied scripture from the point of view of liberated slaves and empowered peasants, we have examined Columbus’ crusade from the perspective of native resister and African revolutionary, and looked at contemporary social movements of the gendered, the racialized and the queered. What do you guys think? Do you think white supremacy is still a problem today?” The classroom climate becomes instantly palpable. Its feel is electrified sweat. The women are poised like cats with tails twitching, listening through every pore. Every one of the four men splutters his response. None of the four can speak to the question; all speak away from it, in dissembling rambles about unrelated subjects.
KeywordsClassroom Climate White Supremacy White Privilege Church Building Racial Domination
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