A white female professor at the University of Pennsylvania, in an article posted at the Huffington Post, said that she has chosen to never have children because her children would thus inherit white privilege. Ali Michael, who teaches at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, was inspired by Rachel Dolezal: a white woman who identifies as black and who was the leader of Spokane’s NAACP branch. That Dolezal sought to forsake whiteness for a black identity, Michael said, is actually routine among white people who oppose racism and white privilege.
“I sometimes don’t want to be white either,” Michael wrote. “There was a time in my 20s when everything I learned about the history of racism made me hate myself, my Whiteness, my ancestors… and my descendants. I remember deciding that I couldn’t have biological children because I didn’t want to propagate my privilege biologically.” To accomplish the eschewing of her prior identity, Michael lived with a black family, read exclusively black authors, and even shaved her head.
Denouncing those who are unashamedly white, Michael wrote “I disliked my Whiteness, but I disliked the Whiteness of other White people more,” she writes. “I felt like the way to really end racism was to feel guilty for it, and to make other White people feel guilty for it too.”
Michael now says that whites should accept their racial identity rather than taking on a new one since that is the best way to feel guilty. “At the end of the day, we need White people to see that we are White,” wrote Michael. “When we recognize and own our Whiteness, we can account for our own portion, our one 1/billionth of responsibility for what White people have done throughout history. We can work with other White people to begin to challenge bias, ignorance and colorblindness. We can use our privilege to confront the sources of that unfair favoring.”
Michael continues to focus on racial identity in her academic work. Her research interests include “how white families racially socialize their children.” At her website, there are links to materials such as “10 Quick Ways To Analyze Children’s Books For Racism And Sexism.”
Here is an excerpt from Michael's article:
If I was going to pass on my privilege, I wanted to pass it on to someone who doesn't have racial privilege; so I planned to adopt. I disliked my Whiteness, but I disliked the Whiteness of other White people more. I felt like the way to really end racism was to feel guilty for it, and to make other White people feel guilty for it too. And then, like Dolezal, I wanted to take on Africanness. Living in South Africa during my junior year abroad, I lived with a Black family, wore my hair in head wraps, shaved my head. I didn't want to be White, but if I had to be, I wanted to be White in a way that was different from other White people I knew. I wanted to be a special, different White person. The one and only. How very White of me...
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