Washington University in St. Louis: 'Professionalism' is racist


An event at Washington University in St. Louis is asking students one question: “Is Professionalism a Racist Construct?”

The event is being held virtually through the university on Feb. 1, but states that the term professionalism, at times, “has at times been used to silence and marginalize people of color.”

“The term ‘professionalism’ has at times been used to silence and marginalize people of color, when attributes of appearance, language or interactions that have nothing to do with job knowledge or constructive collegial relationships are labeled as ‘unprofessional,'” the event description states.

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 Students walk through campus at Washington University in St. Louis, MO on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.

 Students walk through campus at Washington University in St. Louis, MO on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
(Photo by Nick Schnelle for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In this context, the event description states, professionalism upholds white supremacy.

“In this context, so-called professionalism is coded language, a construct that upholds institutional racist policies and excluding practices,” the description states.

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Members of the media and staff enter Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, 08 October, 2004 hours before the second presidential debate.

Members of the media and staff enter Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, 08 October, 2004 hours before the second presidential debate.
(Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the description, the event will focus on “dismantling white supremacy and privilege in varied contexts while upholding social justice and advancing effective workplaces in which all contributors can bring their full selves to the job site.”

In September, Washington University in St. Louis received national attention after a student senator placed American flags from a 9/11 display on campus into trash bags.

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 People protest at Washington University to draw attention to police abuse on December 1, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.

 People protest at Washington University to draw attention to police abuse on December 1, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The display was set up as a memorial by the university’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter for the victims of 9/11, with 2,911 flags placed on campus representing each 9/11 victim who was murdered.

Washington University in St. Louis did not offer additional comment in time for publication.

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