Ray Carter | May 4, 2021
OU students, staff to be graded on ‘antiracism’
A new report issued by the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture (GCA) at the University of Oklahoma reveals that students and staff in the architecture program could soon be evaluated for their support of “anti-racist” beliefs—even though advocates openly acknowledge those beliefs require deliberate racial discrimination.
The report, “Taking Action to Create an Anti-Racist, Diverse, and Equitable Community,” describes the world of architecture as one in which white supremacy runs wild.
The report declares that “the planning, design, and construction professions and their academic counterparts are highly impacted by the systems of white supremacy that reproduce discrimination and privilege as a part of everyday life.” The report then lists “recommendations for anti-racist responses for GCA and the divisions” that will result in its “transformation.”
Among those recommendations is a call to offer training and “require accountability for faculty, students, staff, and administration to create supportive classroom experiences and shared governance systems in the College.”
As part of that process, the report says processes should be instituted “to allow the documentation of faculty and staff practices that contribute to white supremacy in Gibbs College classrooms and workspaces.” That process will include “an anonymous, online reporting mechanism.”
The report also states that annual faculty evaluation and tenure-and-promotion criteria “should be amended to specifically account for incremental efforts faculty make toward creating an anti-racist community.”
Academic and financial benefits will be provided to both students and faculty that embrace an “anti-racist” mindset.
“The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.” —Ibram X. Kendi
“Faculty, student, and staff efforts at creating an equitable environment should be acknowledged in evaluations and through college awards, grants, and merit recognition processes,” the report recommends.
Major leaders of the “anti-racist” movement have acknowledged that it involves deliberate discrimination based on skin color.
Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” has expressly written that “if racial discrimination is defined as treating, considering, or making a distinction in favor or against an individual based on that person’s race, then racial discrimination is not inherently racist.”
“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination,” Kendi wrote. “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
The Gibbs College of Architecture report indicates the school plans to embrace that concept, saying the college should be “equipping students from dominant identities”—generally understood in the “anti-racist” movement as whites and white men in particular—“with cultural humility.”
The report says a focus on race should be interwoven throughout the study of architecture at OU.
“Course syllabi in the college need more reflection on the problematic historic and contemporary ways that white supremacy, planning, design, and construction still disproportionately affect communities of color,” the report states.
The document adds, “Existing courses that directly engage with the legacy of white supremacy in the built environment, the impact of that legacy on society, and efforts to overcome that legacy should be identified as possible required courses. The requirement would be key to instituting changes.”
In a later section, the report states that racially focused material “should be centered within core curriculums and not sidelined as electives for self-selecting students.”
The document states that hiring “underrepresented faculty and staff is only a step toward creating an anti-racist, equitable GCA. The GCA must also hire and develop faculty and staff who have expertise in and experience with issues of social justice and anti-racist research, service, and teaching practices.”
The report states that new “administrative costs” associated with its recommendations include financial resources to address the “intellectual and emotional labor” involved.
[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit AimHigherOK.com.]
(Image: Gibbs College of Architecture)
Director, Center for Independent Journalism
Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.