They know it’s controversial to some, so the organizers of the White Privilege Conference aren’t looking for a lot of advance fanfare as its 18th annual gathering heads for Kansas City for the first time. It can be a volatile subject.
Some 2,500 people — including college and high school students, teachers, university faculty, social activists, counselors, clergy and business people — gathered for the 17th annual conference in Philadelphia a year ago.
The conference will run from April 27 to 30.
Materials for the conference aim to make it clear both what the conference is about — and what it’s not about.
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It is a conference “that examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression” to build strategies “toward a more equitable world,” its promotions say.
It is not a conference “to attack, degrade or beat up on white folks.” Nor is it designed “to rally white supremacist groups.”
The workshops aim to examine issues of privilege beyond skin color, organizers say, and is “open to everyone and invites diverse perspectives to provide a comprehensive look at issues of privilege … including race, gender, sexuality, class (and) disability.”
The first conferences were held in Mount Vernon and Pella, Iowa, beginning in 1999, but have been held throughout the country over the past 10 years. It was founded by Eddie Moore Jr., who now leads The Privilege Institute in Colorado.
On his webpage, Moore describes the concerns the conference deals with as it grows and draws more attention.
“Personal attacks, derogatory language … That is what we started to receive at the close of the largest, most challenging and most engaging WPC ever,” he wrote. “What has also grown from the conference is hateful, harmful and vile threats of death and physical harm.”
“The growth of the conference highlights the need,” he said, “for these open and honest discussions on white supremacy, white privilege and oppression.”
Registration cost for the conference ranges from $230 for students to $400 for individuals for the full session, and $100 to $175 for single days. Conference information is at WhitePrivilegeConference.com.