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Rebekah Modrak: Essay on White Supremacy, Benevolent Institutions, and Shinola

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Entrepreneurship 407: White Supremacy, Benevolent Institutions, and Shinola, a short essay about education, entrepreneurship,” and race by Stamps Associate Professor Rebekah Modrak, was recently featured by the National Center for Institutional Diversity. 

There was great clarity in the post-Civil War Confederate monument. Solid materials erected in a city’s central square to carry an unambiguous message: honor white supremacy and intimidate African Americans. While we celebrate the removal of these granite and bronze statues from plazas around the country, it’s worth considering whether their messages find new, unsettling, and implicit forms in places where we don’t expect them to materialize.

One of the most surprising sites is the university classroom. Almost every university now has entrepreneurial” programming that partner with businesses claiming to be creative and innovative. These centers offer curriculum posing as education though, without pedagogical complexity, intellectual rigor, criticality, or historical perspective, and without questioning the social values implicit in the company messaging. These interlopers into education adopt the manner of cheerleaders, rather than of skeptics, carelessly draping collegiate gowns over values, such as white supremacy. When white privilege is celebrated and validated by universities, how can we possibly ask students to acknowledge and confront racism?

Entrepreneurship 407: White Supremacy, Benevolent Institutions, and Shinola | National Center for Institutional Diversity | Medium​.com