It might sound like a white supremacist meeting, but the White Privilege Conference is the furthest thing from it. At the East Memphis Hilton Hotel from April 1st through the 4th, people of different races will learn how to overcome America's long history of privilege and oppression.
Held in different cities each year, founder Eddie Moore chose Memphis for the conference's 10th anniversary. Highlights will include a speech on white denial in the age of President Barack Obama and workshops on Islamic xenophobia, interracial dialogue for women, and the climate crisis. There's also a youth conference for high school students. Though advanced registration is preferred, registration will remain open for latecomers to the conference. — by Bianca Phillips
Flyer: The name "White Privilege Conference" sounds like a Klu Klux Klan rally. Why did you call it that?
Eddie Moore Jr.: Before people meet me, they think I'm like the Grand Poobah of the Klan. But really, the name came from the research and scholarship I was reading when I came to grad school.
I felt like some of the things that were missing from the diversity conversation were issues of white supremacy and white privilege as a way to understand how to make the nation better.
Does the conference look at other forms of privilege as well?
We start with white privilege because that's the way the nation was founded — by white people, for white people. But as a man, I have privilege over a woman. So we work hard to cover privilege comprehensively. It's important to point that out.
Now that we have a black president, do you think a conference like this is still necessary?
Sister, I'm hoping to be out of a job in 50 years. You can't deny the Obama presidency is a good sign of progress and moving forward as a nation.
But when you look at the power pictures, the people who run the systems and institutions, I would argue that those pictures haven't changed very much in the hundreds of years we've been in existence as a nation. That's what we're trying to change: the power pictures.
Are you referring to white male leadership?
It's not about attacking white males and making them feel bad. Those folks didn't design the system. But we have to understand how that system came into place and why we keep seeing the same kind of pictures and the same kind of people. I don't think we understand that enough as a nation, especially young people.