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University of Chicago’s ‘Problem of Whiteness’ class sparks controversy

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A University of Chicago course focusing on the “problem of Whiteness” sparked outrage on social media after one of the university’s students took to Twitter to share his concerns.

“Since I began college a year ago, I’ve documented all the anti-white hatred I’ve seen on campus. Without a doubt, this is the most egregious example,” sophomore Daniel Schmidt tweeted on Nov. 1.

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The course was set to “[examine] the problem of whiteness through an anthropological lens, drawing from classic and contemporary works of critical race theory,” according to the course description.

“Critical race theorists have shown that whiteness has long functioned as an ‘unmarked’ racial category, saturating a default surround against which non-white or ‘not quite’ others appear as aberrant,” the description said. “This saturation has had wide-ranging effects, coloring everything from the consolidation of wealth, power and property to the distribution of environmental health hazards…

“Yet in recent years, whiteness has resurfaced as a conspicuous problem within liberal political discourse.”

Schmidt, a self-described “right-wing college activist,” said issues escalated after instructor Rebecca Journey received pushback from those outraged by the course offering.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday that Journey had even received “death threats” and pushed the course to spring 2023 to allow officials “time to develop a safety plan for her and her students.”

Schmidt received pushback from Journey for allegedly pushing a “targeted cyberbullying campaign” against her.

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“This was a malicious attack not just on me as a teacher but on anti-racist pedagogy writ large,” she said, according to the Sun-Times’ report. 

“I am absolutely moving forward with this class as planned. We can’t let cyberterrorists win,” she added.

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The course, set to begin at the institution during the winter 2022 semester, was postponed until spring 2023 amid the barrage of outrage. 

“Leftists have ruined the lives of countless people they disagree with, destroying careers and waging harassment campaigns,” Schmidt told Fox News Digital when reached for comment. “They get away with it every time and are often even praised. But when I publicly expose a blatantly anti-white course at my university and name the professor teaching it, I am a ‘cyberterrorist’ who needs to be publicly condemned by my university.”

The University of Chicago responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment with a Nov. 16 statement from Amanda Woodward, the university’s dean of the social sciences division.

“A crucial aspect of academic freedom is the ability of instructors to design courses and curricula, including those that foster debate and may lead to disagreement,” the statement read.

“While differences of opinion over course material may arise, the university does not cancel classes because of such differences, and the university defends the freedom of instructors to teach any course that has been developed through our faculty-led curricular processes, including courses that may be controversial,” it continued. “The principles of academic freedom apply to everyone who is appointed to teach at the university.”

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