Based in Allendale, Michigan, Grand Valley State University will sponsor White Privilege Conference on campus in April. Faculty, students, and guests, according to the university, will be thus empowered and equipped “to work for equity and justice through self and social transformations.” According to the event website, participants in the conference will discuss “how white privilege, white supremacy, and oppression affects daily life while giving strategies for addressing issues of privilege and oppression and advancing social and economic justice.”
Among the examples of white privilege identified by the event website are: “Being able to … assume that most of the people you or your children study in history classes and textbooks will be of the same race, gender, or sexual orientation as you are; assume that your failures will not be attributed to your race, or your gender; not have to think about your race, or your gender, or your sexual orientation, or disabilities, on a daily basis …”
According to its website, the White Privilege Conference, "looks at White Privilege Intersectionally, in the Context of Various Systems of Privilege," and cites activist and feminist Peggy McIntosh of the Wellesley Centers for Women to define white privilege: "Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do. Access to privilege doesn’t determine one’s outcomes, but it is definitely an asset that makes it more likely that whatever talent, ability, and aspirations a person with privilege has will result in something positive for them.”
The university is offering scholarships to students wishing to attend the conference and take advantage of its “educational and professional development opportunities." Grand Valley State University is joining other public institutions in Michigan, including Ferris State University, to promote the event to students. Participants can obtain Continuing Education Credits or Academic Credit by attending.
In addition to Grand Valley State University’s Division of Inclusion and Equity, sponsors include the Institute for Racial Awareness and Equity, Transgender Training Institute, as well as “the Racial Justice Educator and Writer” Debby Irving. Grand Valley State University is a “Conference Partner Sponsor,” which is a designation that requires at least $5,000 in support. The conference is schedule to take place April 4-7 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The cost of registration at the conference runs $450 for individuals and corporations, while students pay $255.