Students at 'Anti-Black Oppression' Seminar Stage Mutiny Against 'Racist' Black Professor

'They had learned, in one of their workshops, that objective facts are a tool of white supremacy,' writes Vincent Lloyd, professor director of Africana Studies at Villanova

February 10, 2023

What happened: Vincent Lloyd, professor director of Africana Studies at Villanova University and author of Break Every Yoke: Religion, Justice, and the Abolition of Prisons, wrote an essay about his experience as "a black professor trapped in anti-racist hell."

• In the summer of 2022, Lloyd attempted to conduct a six-week seminar for gifted high-school students titled, "Race and the Limits of Law in America," on behalf of the prestigious Telluride Association. Four weeks would be devoted to "anti-black racism," with the other two focusing on "anti-immigrant and anti-indigenous racism."

• Lloyd describes his anti-racist credentials as follows: "I am a black professor, I directed my university’s black-studies program, I lead anti-racism and transformative-justice workshops, and I have published books on anti-black racism and prison abolition. I live in a predominantly black neighborhood of Philadelphia, my daughter went to an Afrocentric school, and I am on the board of our local black cultural organization."

• The racially diverse group of 12 students lived together and practiced "democratic self-governance" to create and live by their own rules during the course of the seminar.

• The seminar was hijacked by a young woman he refers to as "Keisha"—a recent Ivy League grad "mentored by a television-celebrity black intellectual"—who was tasked with leading "anti-racism workshops" in the afternoons. Lloyd described how the students were molded into an anti-racism "cult" with Keisha as its leader.

• When an Asian-American student stated a fact—almost 60 percent of federal inmates are white—during a discussion about incarceration, the group subsequently voted to expel that student. "The black students said they were harmed," Lloyd writes. "They had learned, in one of their workshops, that objective facts are a tool of white supremacy."

• Another Asian-American student was also expelled for reasons Keisha refused to share with Lloyd.

• Lloyd writes: "[A]fter a week focused on the horrific violence, death, and dispossession inflicted on Native Americans, Keisha reported to me that the black students and their allies were harmed because we hadn't focused sufficiently on anti-blackness."

• Four weeks into the seminar, Keisha and the remaining students staged an intervention. They accused Lloyd of using "racist language," of misgendering Brittney Griner, of confusing the names of two black students, of harming them with his body language, of not challenging the prison statistic and other "harmful" "facts," and encouraging students to "think about the reasoning of both sides of an argument, when only one side was correct."

• The students demanded the remainder of the seminar consist entirely of lectures about "anti-black oppression."

• Lloyd appealed to the Telluride Association, which "didn't feel comfortable intervening" out of respect for the "democratic self-governance of the student community."

•The seminar was canceled.

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Published under: Anti-Racism , Racism