Lawrence Ross, a well-known author focused on race, recently delivered a controversial lecture at the University of Virginia (UVA).
“There will never be a n—r in SAE, There will never be a n—r in SAE … You can hang him from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me, there will never be a n—r in SAE,” Ross sang, referring to a chant repeated by University of Oklahoma students in a 2015 video of fraternity brothers on a party bus that went viral.
His lecturer - named “Blackballed” after his 2016 book "Blackballed: The Black and White Politics of Race on America's Campuses" - focused on race issues on campus and how to combat racist tendencies.
Ross presented a seemingly broad definition of what he identifies as “covert white supremacy.” On a projector screen, Ross designated actions as either “overt” or “covert” white supremacy through a pyramid graph.
According to Ross, actions that classify as covert white supremacy include chanting “Make America Great Again,” celebrating Columbus Day, saying “But we’re just one human family,” having the belief we are “Post-Racial,” claiming reverse racism or making the argument “Don’t blame me, I never owned slaves.”
“Race is a biological nothing, but is a very important sociological something, and if you ignore the sociological something, you’re doing me a disservice,” Ross explained.
“When we talk about white supremacy throughout American history … we have to recognize that American society at foundation was geared toward whites,” Ross continued.
Ross also detailed what he perceives as a common misconception on college campuses regarding race.
“We all thinks racism equals cancer,” Ross stated. “A lot of our universities don’t realize that they’re sick.”
Other examples that Ross considers as “covert white supremacy” include racist mascots, fearing people of color, “Assuming that Good Intentions are Enough,” blaming the victim, or someone asking “But what about me?”
The top of Ross’ pyramid graph included nine examples of “expressions of white supremacy” that he deems socially unacceptable. The nine include lynching, hate crimes, swastikas, the N-word, the KKK, burning crosses, racial slurs, racist jokes, and Neo-Nazis.
Ross also told attendees about what he calls the “three-izes” or measures that campus organizations often use to ignore or dismiss campus racism. The three-izes are “individualize, minimize, and trivialize.”
“Do not take comfort in the fact that you’re not racist … you have to be anti-racist, the same way you have to be anti-homophobic, anti-Islamophobic,” Ross told students.
Ross implored the UVA students to utilize resources at their disposal in order to completely eradicate racism from their campus.
“What we want to be able to do is be so anti-racist that we want to eliminate the idea that racism has any role on a college campus,” Ross expresses.
Ross’ Twitter account details how exactly he believes racism is enacted, and where it gains its origin.
“Racism is based on a system of white supremacy, where the pseudo-science says that Europeans can exploit non-Europeans,” he tweeted. “From there, you get racism to support it.”
According to The Cavalier Daily, the lecture was hosted by multiple organizations from the UVA campus including the Multicultural Greek Council, the Minority Rights Coalition, the Inter-Fraternity Council, the Inter-Sorority Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, and the Black Student Alliance.
Isaiah Denby is a college freshman from Tampa Bay, Florida studying economics and political science.