The administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government has agreed to work with a student group to implement a “mandatory power and privilege training” as part of its orientation, according to several reports by the group.
“We have exciting news to share — the administration has officially expressed its desire to collaborate with us on designing a privilege training component for Orientation week for every HKS degree program!” states a post on the group’sTumblr page…
A mandatory power and privilege training that examines components of race, gender, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, ability, religion, international status, and power differentials for every incoming HKS student starting August 2014.
Mandatory hat tips to other groups notwithstanding, the idea behind “power and privilege training” is to inculcate the proposition that white people–and especially white men–have a built-in lead in terms to running things and that they need to be knocked down to size. For my part I’ve tried to undermine things for one segment of the Caucasian population (the Scots-Irish) but all I’ve gotten is fears of racial profiling. And the people of Massachusetts, which surrounds the Harvard campus, still elected Elizabeth Warren as their Senator.
In any case all of this overlooks one simple fact: obtaining power and privilege is the reason people go to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the first place. I’m a broken record on this, but we haven’t elected a non-Ivy League President in thirty years. And 2016 doesn’t look promising, questions about Hilary Clinton’s health notwithstanding.
So: if you want to take a major step against “power and privilege” the simplest way to do this is to pull the plug on the School of Government, and take the rest of Harvard with it. Failure to do so will simply lead to transference of power and privilege from one group to another, and the rest of the population will be no better off.
Put another way, the “egalitarian vision” of our elites is such that, in spite of all of the bawling over economic inequality, as long as the 1% (or the 0.1% or the 0.01%) and their sycophantic clients have the requisite number of blacks, women, Hispanics, gays, etc., everything is good.
The real issue isn’t the race or gender of the power holders but the growing centralisation of power itself.