Columbia University is holding a five week long series of lectures for white students on “deconstructing whiteness.”

The workshop series is titled “From Ally to Accomplice at Columbia: Working Group for Examining and Deconstructing Whiteness to Mitigate Racial Trauma.” According to the Facebook page for the series, the aim is “for white-identified students to engage in an exploration of their white identities and build community and accountability around deconstructing whiteness and white privilege to facilitate the development of an anti-racist lens.”

(Tony Cenicola/The New York Times)

“Through increasing self-awareness and centering justice, as well as the recognition of history and its impact on the present, students will build skills around empathy, responsibility in action, and interrogation of knowledges we use and value while centering compassion, healing, and vulnerable, open dialogue,” the page continued.

The series description adds that it “will not be a support group for white students. Nor will it be comfortable or easy.”

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But not all are sold on the initiative or its benefits.

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“If you get an email like this one, just sent out to a bunch of Columbia U law students, you should politely ask to see the evidence of program efficacy your institution used when it decided to spend money on the particular program in question,” Jesse Singal, a former contributor to New York Magazinesaid about the workshops.

Campus Reform reports that the sessions, which will be held over Zoom, had filled up following “overwhelming interest!”

“There are numerous ways to address the issue of structural racism. This program is intended to engage students from a public health perspective,” Columbia Health Associate Director of Communications Gayle Gatchalian told Campus Reform. “The intent is to provide an alternative angle by which to tackle the issue.”

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