FGCU White Racism Course Attracts National Attention

Dec 1, 2017

Florida Gulf Coast University’s President, Dr. Mike Martin, issued a statement Wednesday in response to the national attention an upcoming class at the university is receiving.

The White Racism class was added to the FGCU schedule in response to a number of racist incidents that happened last year on campus which garnered national coverage. Now, this course is receiving national attention of its own.

President Martin says it’s important to respect academic freedom on campus, and that he wishes people would review the course content before passing judgment based just on the course title.

“I’m not going to get in the business, unless people get way out of bounds, of trying to manipulate the coursework offered by legitimately good professors that engage our students, and I just wanted to send that message. Now, I understand the angst out there, really do. What I’m disappointed about the angst is people have responded to two words – white racism – and haven’t taken the time to read the course content.”

The White Racism course’s professor, Dr. Ted Thornhill, says the title comes from the language of the literature, and that the course has been taught at the University of Connecticut for 22 years. He says his goal is to explore with students ways to challenge and disrupt white racism and dethrone white supremacy.

“For hundreds of years Europeans and their descendants have enacted all manner of laws, policies, practices, promoted ideologies, traditions, customs, habits, cultural aspects that serve to truncate, constrain, limit the life chances of those racialized as non-white. And so by virtue of that we have a society where there is a racial hierarchy where whites occupy the top strata, and those racialized as non-white occupy the lower strata on that hierarchical continuum.”

The class is an elective and is capped at 55 students with a full waiting list. It begins in January.