Over the January 8-10 weekend, as part of Oregon State University’s race-based “Social Justice Retreats” exclusively white students will be exposed to a retreat entitled “Examining White Identity in a Multcultural World.” Exclusively non-white students will attend the “Racial Aikido” retreat. Both of these will focus on so-called “white privilege,” “microaggressions,” and “institutional racism.”
At their retreat, white students will hear lectures on “white privilege,” while the retreat for non-whites will seek to “empower students of color.”
For January 30, yet another retreat is planned. Entitled “Multiracial Aikido,” the retreat is designated for multiracial students only. On its website, the public university invites multiracial students to attend in order to get “a better understanding of your multiracial identities.”
OSU will also hold a retreat exclusively for white faculty members and staff on January 8-9, called “Examining White Identity in a Multicultural World.” However, the university has not announced any social justice retreats for non-white faculty and staff exclusively. Those persons seeking to attend the retreats must disclose to the university not only their “racial identity,” but also their sexual orientation, preferred gender pronouns, and whether or not they any religious or spiritual heritage.
OSU produced two videos promoting the “Racial Aikido” and the “Examining White Identity” retreats.
The all white students and OSU staff members appearing in the video promoting “Examining White Identity” praised both the “difficulty conversations” that attendees will experience at the retreat. Attendees will also experience “vulnerability” at the retreat. Rachel Weber, of the university’s Division of International Programs, says that the retreats are as essential as the institution’s core curriculum. Part of that curriculum is OSU’s required course, entitled “Difference, Power and Discrimination.” Weber said on the video that all incoming OSU students should attend the program, which she said is “an amazing gift to the university and to the world.”
As for “Racial Aikido,” the promotion video features minority students and staff praising the retreat’s focus on so-called “microaggressions.” In one case, a student says that participating students will come away with “a set of tools to deal with overt or subtle microaggressions that you experience as a marginalized student.”