What do you do when you arrange a “serious” scholarly event that is in fact so stupid and ill-conceived that your organization comes across as glaringly racist?
One defense is to suddenly play the victim, and that’s what the American Booksellers Association (ABA) is doing after it promoted an “anti-racist” workshop astoundingly titled “What’s Up with White Women?”
The Oct. 21 virtual event’s subtitle is “Unpacking Sexism and White Privilege in Pursuit of Racial Justice,” writes DailyMail.com. The workshop says it will facilitate “authentic cross-cultural relationships by examining three types of behavior including control, perfectionism and defensiveness.”
The two women set to run the Oct. 21 virtual event are, inconveniently, very white. Still, Ilsa Govan and Tillman Smith have set themselves up as expert consultants in racism and say they aim to look further into the behaviors and assumptions made by white women.
So they came up with a title that goes out of its way to isolate and belittle a group based on gender and skin color.
The only thing more predictable than the merciless attacks that have come on social media has been the ABA’s reaction.
First, the comments:
“[Y]our anti racist book sounds kinda racist,” said The Blaze’s Jessica O’Donnell.
“I’m sorry, but this is incredibly racist,’ said Ian Miles Cheong of the Post Millennial.
“I don’t think they understand what racism means … ” radio host Larry O’Connor observed.
ABA’s response was to delete the original poster, showing that they see some truth in the criticism, but then to panic-signal as if the critics were planning to firebomb their woke workshop.
“ABA’s antiracism workshop is still scheduled,” the organization tweeted, “However, in support of our community and out of concern for the security of the event, we have removed the post with registration details.”