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George Washington University is urging students to read Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same in an effort to educate them about the dangers of stereotypes and discrimination.
The "Solidarity Resource Syllabus" released by the Washington, D.C.-based school's Office of Diversity provides students with a reading list that focuses on racism in the United States. Among the 126 books that the university says "actively and effectively … [combat] injustice" is San Francisco State University professor Robert Smith's 2010 book that equates conservative beliefs with bigotry. That label applies to all who subscribe to right-leaning beliefs, including people of color.
"Conservatism as a philosophy and ideology … is and always has been hostile to the aspirations of Africans in America, incompatible with the struggle for freedom and equality," the book reads. "Repeatedly I was asked, ‘Are you saying that conservatism is racism, that all conservatives are racist?' Aren't there black conservatives? Are they racist?'…. My answer to most of these questions was a qualified yes."
"Anti-racism" books have emerged atop Amazon's bestseller list following George Floyd's death in police custody in May. Among them are Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility and Ibram X. Kendi's How To Be An Anti-Racist. Smith's book never made it to Amazon's bestseller list, but his work is used in leading college textbooks on American politics.
GWU hosted a number of online programs focused on racism as the nation's capital and other major cities became the sites of mass protests and, in some cases, riots. The university sought to educate students through programs titled, "Non-black people of color conversation: Role in anti-blackness," "Conversation about the role of white people in racial justice and anti-racism," and "Unconscious bias workshop for faculty." In an email to attendees, the office of diversity boasted that 5,000 people registered for events in the past month.
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