James Madison University student employees who led freshman orientation this year were subjected to training that claimed people who identify as male, straight, cisgender, Christian, or American are “oppressors,” according to a new report.
In a mandated training video, student employees at the Virginia school were taught that oppression is “the systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic and political benefit of the more powerful social group,” according to documents obtained by Fox News.
The video said an “oppressor” group has the power to define reality for themselves and others and that the “target” groups “take in and internalize the negative messages about them and end up cooperating with the oppressors (thinking and acting like them).”
The training went on to describe privilege as the “unearned social power accorded by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group at the expense of targeted groups.”
According to the report, the presentation said people who identify as male, cisgender, heterosexual, heteroromantic, Christian, white, Western European, and American are privileged. Other groups seen as “oppressors” or “agents” included those of upper-class or middle-class economic status, people with thin or athletic body types, those who are able-bodied, and people between the ages of 30 and early 50s.
Meanwhile, the training said oppressed groups include people who identify as black, Asian, Latinx, non–Western European and LGBTQ+. Other “targets” include people who are Muslim, Jewish, working-class, overweight, or disabled.
Upon completion of the training, the student employees were sent an email discouraging them from sharing the training materials with others.
A spokesperson for the university reportedly told the outlet that the training was “held to help ensure that every student guide for freshman orientation had the tools and understanding to work with incoming students, who might have a different background than their own.”
“At JMU, we strive to create an inclusive and welcoming community for all students. We also seek feedback on the training to constantly work on improving how we communicate and train student staff members,” the statement added.