A Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis course trained students on the “power” dynamics between different “social identities” during a lecture titled “Matrix of Social Identity,” according to a presentation obtained by medical watchdog Do No Harm (DNH) and shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The lecture defined the matrix as a “framework” that is “reflective of U.S. culture and society” and that is “helpful for understanding how relationships to power differ,” according to a copy of the slides obtained by DNH. The instructor explained to the medical students that racial discrimination can only be considered racism if the person identifies with a group in a position of “power,” according to the audio shared with the DCNF by DNH that was first leaked online by the Twitter account Mythinformed in February.
“Racial privilege plus the misuse of power equals racism,” the instructor said, according to audio. “In our culture, in the United States, white folks hold power. That doesn’t mean other folks don’t have power, but in this construct, in this culture, white folks hold power. We live in a system of white supremacy.”
The lecture is part of the school’s Gateway curriculum that is delivered to students over a four-year period through three stages, according to its website. The course is titled “Health Equity & Justice,” which is required for first-year students, Laura Morgan, DNH program manager, told the DCNF.
The instructor said that, since she is white, discrimination against her cannot be considered racism because “it is not backed by any systems or structures.” She also alleged that “horizontal oppression,” which is discrimination between members of a specific group, upholds “white supremacy” by “causing in-fighting.”
“If I am poor, I am white, I can still be racist because my whiteness gives me skin color privilege,” the instructor explained, according to the audio. “What I can’t be if I’m poor is classist, because I don’t have power as it relates to class.”
The objective of the lecture was to “examine the relationship between social identities and power” and “discriminate between power utilization at the individual, institutional, and systemic level across social identities,” according to the presentation slides. It also aimed to have students “define power, privilege, and oppression.”
“The ‘Matrix of Oppression’ is giving [students] definitions that is based on identity and identity politics,” Morgan told the DCNF.
It also included a chart, obtained by Do No Harm, that outlined the type of oppression each group of people can be subjected to. It included categories including gender, sex, race, age and appearance.
“Having a definition of race oppression being white supremacy doesn’t have any value in teaching medical students in how to take care of people who are sick and injured,” Morgan told the DCNF. “It’s just a course that is given to first-year medical students and it masks for the purpose of indoctrinating them into those kinds of ideologies.”
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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