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White Privilege? Georgia Lawmaker Surveys How State Colleges Teach US History

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Georgia Representative Emory Dunahoo has launched a probe into the curricula of colleges and universities across the state, asking if any of the schools are educating students about white privilege or oppression in the teaching of US history. 

Dunahoo submitted a legislative request to University System of Georgia (USG) officials, seeking to gain a better grasp of what was being taught to the students. USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley forwarded the lawmaker’s questions to university leaders throughout the system. 

These questions concerned whether classes within the state’s public school and university system teach students that “possessing certain characteristics inherently designates them as either being ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’” and if professors are defining what constitutes “privilege” and “oppression.”

To provide an answer to these questions, presidents and provosts are looking into their approved curricula and course titles and some leaders are asking professors directly, such as those at South Georgia State College. 

“We are a state agency and are always responsive to the elected representatives of the people of Georgia. We shared the questions with our campus presidents and provosts to gather the information requested,” said USG spokesperson Aaron Diamant.

Dunahoo is expecting to have the responses by next week to comb through the information, as it will be used to aid in future budgetary decisions and allocations. However, his request has been met with skepticism from some faculty members. 

University of North Georgia Associate Professor Matthew Boedy is convinced that this initiative is some form of attack on higher education.

“It perpetrates a pernicious agenda. I don’t know why a state representative who won his district by 40 points needs to throw red meat to his base, but this echoes national conservative discourse that has been laughed from the public square by historians and other experts,” Boedy said.

The Republican lawmaker denied that there is an underlying agenda to his request. Dunahoo said that these questions were based on the concerns his constituents raised and that no conclusions will be drawn until all responses are gathered.

“I don’t proceed with business without facts. I’m also (in the Georgia House of Representatives) to represent my constituents,” he told Gainesville Times. “These questions come from my constituents in the district who want to know what’s being taught to their kids at college.”

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