Massachusetts university program asks White students and faculty to be ‘co-conspirators’ in ‘racial justice’

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst is hosting a program intended for White students to become “co-conspirators” for racial justice, and will take time to process “White feelings.”

“White Allies Against Racism: How to be a co-conspirator for racial justice,” is a program being hosted this spring by the University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research and encourages participants to “imperfectly fight racism every day by unlearning whiteness & putting our power on the line for racial justice.”

The program is open to students and faculty, and the application asks, in part, their race and ethnic identities as well as their history of participating in racial justice efforts.

Participants will “Understand our complicity in white supremacy and deepen knowledge about how it works (at UMass),” “Develop tools for accountability & sustained action to end racism,” and “Be prepared to implement skills in their departments, programs, & areas of influence,” according to a description of the program.

One document explaining why the program uses the term “white co-conspirators” rather than “allies” states that it believes holding time for White people to “unpack, process, and unlearn a lifetime of White supremacist ideology” is critical to furthering racial justice.


“At CRJ, we believe that holding intentional, time-limited spaces for white people to unpack, process, and unlearn a lifetime of white supremacist ideology in accountable community with other white people is critical to the work of furthering racial justice,” the document states.

The document also states that the program will adopt Pippi Kessler’s argument that “White caucus or affinity spaces play an important role for White people who are working against racism.”

For example, the program incorporates Kessler’s model by “processing White feelings,” “retraining,” and taking “action to shift power.”


“Processing White feelings: working through emotions that often come up for White people like sadness, shame, paralysis, confusion, denial, etc,” the document states. “Action to shift power: taking action to redistribute resources, change who’s in power, alter institutions.”

The program equips “White participants with the skills to perpetually interrogate their own Whiteness in order to show up in solidarity with BIPOC folx and take bold action to end racism,” the document states.

An aerial view of the W. E. B. Du Bois Library gardens and the Old Chapel at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on April 30, 2020 in Amherst, MA. Photo by Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

According to a university webpage, the program is led by White students and faculty.

Fox News Digital reached out to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for comment.

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