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15 January 2017

TRUMP EFFECT: AZ Lawmakers Move to Ban College Courses on ‘the Problem of Whiteness’ and ‘White Privilege’

Arizona lawmakers are debating a controversial new measure to expand the state’s current “ban” on ethnic studies classes to state colleges and universities. The original ban, passed in 2010, extends to Arizona’s public and charter primary and secondary schools.

If approved, the new expansion would prohibit colleges and universities in Arizona from holding classes that “promote division, resentment, or social justice toward a race, gender, religion, political affiliation, social class or other class” in addition to classes targeting a single ethnic group. Schools that violate the ban would risk losing up to 10 percent of their funding from the state.

The proposed ban takes aim at courses currently taught at Arizona public colleges such as Arizona State University’s Whiteness and Race Theory course, which teaches students about “the problem of Whiteness.” It would also ban the University of Arizona’s so-called “privilege walk”.


The concept of “social justice,” which purports to promote equality among the lines of gender and ethnicity, is based on intersectional feminist theory. Per the theory, certain classes of people are naturally oppressors, while others are victims. There’s nothing more divisive than that.

“The bill is very simple: Taxpayers should not have to be paying for classes that discriminate,” the legislation’s sponsor, state Rep. Bob Thorpe told the Arizona Republic. “This is drawing a line in the sand that says, ‘Higher education: If you want to have classes that teach resentment between individuals, you should have to fund them.’ ”

Other proponents of the measure, known as HB2120, defend it as an anti-discrimination bill.

“Slice up and dice up all of these people into groups and cater a particular message to each one of them, and all that does is advocate hate,” said Rep. Mark Finchem of such classes. “It’s a very perverse agenda that the folks that advocate these kinds of classes and student groups have. They claim that they want justice and equality, while at the exact same time, they’re preaching inequality.”

The aforementioned ASU course “Whiteness and Race Theory” is described online as a class on postcolonialist, psychoanalytic, deconstructioniast, feminist, new historicist ideas. The course is intended to teach white students on their privilege through an intersectional feminist, post-modernist lens.

One of HB2120’s leading opponents is New York Daily News columnist and Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King, who calls it “completely and utterly disgusting” for prohibiting professors from teaching their students to recognize what he calls “economic and skin privilege.”

Describing the law as “not just petty, but deeply problematic,” King believes that Thorpe has a “bigger problem with students and staff discussing white privilege than he does with unfair privilege himself,” and tries to defend it on the grounds of academic freedom.

If schools taught classes on the problem of Blackness,” there is no doubt his tune would be much different.

The concept of “social justice,” which purports to promote equality among the lines of gender and ethnicity, is based on intersectional feminist theory. Per the theory, certain classes of people are naturally oppressors, while others are victims. There’s nothing more divisive than that.