FGCU’s ‘White Racism’ course sparks controversy

FORT MYERS, Fla. A new course at Florida Gulf Coast University’s campus is sparking some controversy.

The new course “White Racism” is going to be offered to students for the first time in the 2018 Spring semester.

Since Dr. Ted Thornhill announced his new course, he has received a lot of backlash from the community who feel the title is an attack on all white people.

“If you’re not a white racist, then you shouldn’t be concerned with the title,” Thornhill said. “You should be concerned with the white racism.”

Thornhill says the course is not meant to come across as an attack toward white people, but instead he wants it to highlight the systemic racial inequality in today’s society.

“This course will help students develop a deeper and sophisticated understanding of the origins of the race concept, the history of white radical domination in the United States that developed over hundreds of years,” Thornhill said.

Some students feel the title distracts from the main message of the course. But others feel it is a necessary step for a campus that has already dealt with many racially charged incidents, such as the racial slur drawn on the whiteboard last year.

MORE: Offensive messages continue to plague FGCU campus

“I think back to the history of FGCU and how we’re only 20-years-old and we’ve already had about three different racist scandals happen on campus,” FGCU student Shylah Soares said. “So, I guess it was appropriate for them to start implementing black culture.”

Posters that have been advertising the course have been vandalized with words like “liberal,” and posters saying “It’s okay to be white” were hung up in the Cohen Center.

Thornhill said he has no issues with the “It’s okay to be white” posters, as long as it was not meant to intimidate.

“Clearly, there’s nothing wrong with being white,” Thornhill said. “It’s OK to be white. It’s just not OK to be a white racist.”

As of right now, the “White Racism” is full for the Spring semester, but the professor tells us there is a wait list.

Reporter:Oliver Redsten

Writer:Emily Ford
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