Bucknell Anti-Racism Exercise Reportedly Portrays White Males as Obnoxious and Rude

WNYC New York Public Radio/Flickr
WNYC New York Public Radio/Flickr

An anti-racism exercise at a community dinner at Bucknell University on Tuesday night reportedly portrayed white males as obnoxious and rude.

A student at the dinner told Breitbart Tech that guests at the dinner were given colored cards that indicated racial identities. Those that were given “white” identity cards were reportedly allowed to get food from the buffet table first, followed by those who were given “female” and “gender non-binary” identity cards. Barry Jenkins, the director of the Academy-Award-winning film, Moonlight, was among the guests present at the dinner.

Each table reportedly had facilitators that acted out the expected behaviors of particular gender stereotypes. The student claimed those portraying “cis white males” were generally rude and inconsiderate to the other guests, interrupting other guests, “manspreading,” and “mansplaining.”

“Manspreading” is defined as “the practice whereby a man, especially one traveling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats.” “Mansplaining” is defined as the act of explaining “(something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.” Both concepts are used by contemporary feminists as examples of a patriarchal society.

Eventually, at the conclusion of the 15-minute experiment, a facilitator reportedly announced that the experiment was based on activist Jane Elliot’s Brown-eye, Blue-eye anti-racism exercise, which was designed to demonstrate to non-minorities the realities of racism in America.

Tuesday’s exercise at Bucknell University reflects much of Elliot’s rhetoric on white Americans. Elliot appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1992 to speak about her “Blue-eyes, Brown-eyes” exercise. On the show, Elliot claimed that “white folks are all racist,” that anyone who says “I think what we need is a colorblind society” is a racist, and that “white males are accustomed to telling things, they aren’t accustomed to listening.”


Andy Hirsch, Bucknell’s Chief Communications Officer, provided Breitbart News with the following statement regarding Tuesday’s community dinner:

The dinner was the kick-off event to the Diversity Summit. It was advertised as an event in which attendees would “experience and discuss gendered rules, norms and practices that govern social relationships on campus and beyond.”

Though I wasn’t at the dinner, my understanding is that the exercise you referenced was about 15 minutes of the 90-minute event. It was aimed at giving individuals varying perspectives on how gender impacts our daily lives. There were facilitators at each table who played a role based on general gender norms, though they varied; they weren’t all portraying one particular gender stereotype. The organizers based the short exercise on Jane Elliot’s work.

[EDITOR’S NOTE – Several others who attended the dinner claim that the racial element only came up at discussions at individual tables. The dinner was about gender, and it was “cis males” rather than “white cis males” that were portrayed with a negative stereotype.]

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about education and social justice for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at tciccotta@breitbart.com


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