Oh boy, oh boy, tonight brings us another stop in the Klar Klan Kruiser’s “Waah Waah Critical Race Theory” tour. This time it’s in St. Albans, and the speakers include one Aaron Kindsvatter, professor of counseling in the UVM College of Education and Social Services, and, to be perfectly frank, one whiny little bitch.
Kindsvatter became a source of controversy on campus earlier this year when he posted a video on YouTube entitled “Racism and the Secular Religion at the University of Vermont.” In it, he complains about being stigmatized because of his race and being labeled a racist because he didn’t accept the “secular religion” of, well, critical race theory. He didn’t use that term, but his presence on the KKK’s roster shows you where his head is at.
Kindsvatter’s video triggered a petition drive aimed at getting him to resign. It’s gathered 3,445 signatures out of a goal of 5,000. This isn’t his first go-round with race-based campus controversy; back in 2016 he objected to the actions of the UVM Bias Response Team, which looks into reports of bias on campus. He said the team “opens the doors for censorship of anyone of any ideological perspective who says something in class that could potentially offend somebody else.”
Now, I can understand how a white man could feel a little uncomfortable with all the anti-racist efforts in his workplace. But that, in itself, is a great measure of white privilege. White people are used to being the norm. Their views, feelings and concerns are the ones that matter. That’s not true anymore, but it’s not as though white people are being ostracized or genocided or enslaved or lynched or engenicized or targeted by excessive police force.
A few decades ago, a study was done of male/female participation in group conversations. What they found was that women tend to speak about 25% of the time. If they start talking more often than that — say, 30-35% — then everyone in the group thinks the women are talking too much. Even the women. In reality, all they’ve done is try to make a small step toward equity.
What’s amazing to me is that a professor of counseling could possess such a complete lack of empathy. He sees everything through the lens of his own experience. That’s something that white people used to be able to get away with and can’t always do so now, which makes them feel oppressed.
In his video and in a subsequent interview with a right-wing media outlet, Kindsvatter makes some statements that reveal a total obliviousness about the experiences of others.
Antiracism, says Kindsvatter, “makes a causal connection between people of a particular race and vaguely defined social ills.” He means white people, but good God, that’s exactly what white people have done for hundreds of years! Like Black people are poor, lazy, and inclined toward crime and broken families, Native Americans barely existed on the North American continent and their culture is worthless, Mexicans are “criminals and rapists” in the words of fragile white man Donald Trump.
It was absolutely common, before the 1960s, for white people to see any other group as inherently inferior. Until maybe after World War II, the inferior included everyone not of northwestern European origin. And even within that group, Jews and Catholics were inherently inferior.
In the interview mentioned above, Kindsvatter puts it another way: “When you start attributing either good or bad traits to a person’s race, you have started an incredibly contagious dialogue that is deeply racist.” Well, again, white people are the trailblazers in “attributing either good or bad traits to a person’s race.” White people invented race. But now, for the first time, the screw has turned.
“Stop reducing my personhood to a racial category,” he says in his video. “It doesn’t feel good.”
Well, duh. Welcome to the world of everyone except white people. In your case, all you’re experiencing is a passing interruption of your comfortable world-view. People of color are used to living in someone else’s world view all the damn time.
And that’s why antiracism is valuable and necessary. We have to break out of the harmful norms of western civilization. We have to see other people’s perspectives, not just our own. Kindsvatter’s cluelessness is, in itself, an argument in favor of antiracism.
And yeah, he’s right at home on the Klar Klan Kruiser.