The Conversation

Niger Innis Blasts White Privilege Conference Over Taxpayer Funding

 Congress of Racial Equality leader Niger Innis doesn’t object to progressive leaders behind this year's White Privilege Conference"inviting thousands of teachers, university faculty, activists, government employees and students to discuss the “evils of Western Civilization and white people,” but he does object to the conference receiving taxpayer dollars.

The Wisconsin Reporter is trying to determine the total cost to taxpayers for the 4 day, university sponsored event,  by asking for registration lists from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, "which entered into an agreement in 2006 to operate the White Privilege Conference as an auxiliary enterprise." At this point, they're reporting that "taxpayers are on the hook for more than $20,000" to put on the event, which began Wednesday in Madison, WI. 

However, the total cost to taxpayers remains unclear.

Innis maintains the gathering only teaches young minorities how to be victims or part of an inferior class of citizens. The convention does nothing to improve the lives of African Americans and Latinos who are disproportionately dropping out of school or are in prison, he said.

Eddie Moore Jr., who founded the conference 15 years ago, told Minnesota’s MSR Online in 2011 he hopes the event will help people understand that “white supremacy, white privilege, racism and other forms of oppression are designed for your destruction — designed to kill you.”

The White Privilege Conference is now a private corporation and as such isn't compelled by law to turn over budget or registration documents. There's more information on the Wisconsin Reporter's efforts to get to the bottom of the controversial conferences financials here.

Madison's progressive Cap Times has a detailed report on the event here.

Sue Robinson, an associate professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, found the sheer number of people participating in the conference inspiring, she said in an email. But that’s not all.

“The courage of people speaking out inspires me. The demonstrated and suggested ways of advocacy in the face of ubiquitous white-dominated structures inspires me. The incredible articulation of wisdom encapsulated in these rooms inspires me,” said Robinson, who added she paid her own way to the conference. Finally, she wrote, “the awesome and important work I am hearing about in every workshop - from both presenters and attendees - inspires me. I feel empowered and humbled as I take the knowledge from here and try to apply it to what I see happening in Madison.”

Isadore Knox, director of the Dane County Office of Equal Opportunity, praised the “Black Male Think Tank,” a day-long session he attended.


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