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Good White People: Visiting philosophy professor speaks on middle-class white anti-racism

Dr. Sullivan delivers a lecture on middle class white anti-racism.
Chance Cochran, Staff

Dr. Sullivan delivers a lecture on middle class white anti-racism.

“Things are bad… I think they’re worse than people realize,” said Dr. Shannon Sullivan on the topic of racism to a room of students in Hardin Hall.
Professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Sullivan visited Clemson last Thursday to give a presentation titled, “Good White People: The Problem with Middle-Class White Anti-Racism.” Sullivan is the author of a book of the same name.
According to Sullivan the main theme of her presentation, which was sponsored by the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities, was “that we need to make whiteness visible, white class privilege visible and sort of challenge the ways it tends to be invisible.” 
However, Sullivan goes on to say “[by having these dialogues] you risk looking like or being perceived as a bad white person if you make it visible and call that white person out.”
Director of the Program in Women’s Leadership and event organizer Diane Perpich said, “What’s harder is to see how claiming not to see race still often brings about racist outcomes.” Commenting on how the event, which is part of the “Race and University” series, is important to Clemson’s campus, Perpich said, “Dr. Sullivan’s work asks us to reflect on a variety of unconscious habits… that nonetheless still contribute in systematic ways to maintaining racism.” 
Political science student Ian I. Anderson found that the presentation set a “good ground work for people who aren’t as educated on the issues.” He said Clemson students can benefit from events such as these as “we [have] a very small minority population… whenever questions come up on campus dealing with that very small minority population, they tend to get shut down.”
Associate Pan-African American studies professor Dr. Abel Barkley said that talking about race improves Clemson and is part of his program’s mission. “The Race and University series is all about educating people and engaging in 
uncomfortable conversations.”  
The next “Race and the University” event is The Kardashian Effect: Commodification of African-American Popular Culture on Feb. 17.

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