A controversial questionnaire is making the rounds on a university campus north of Seattle. It comes from the school's president. He is making no apologies, despite the backlash.
Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard said, "My role as a leader is to ask questions that take people outside of their zones of comfort."
There's one uncomfortable message about WWU that its president has been giving to incoming students ever since he took office six years ago. He said at the school's opening convocation in 2012, "If in the decades ahead we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as a university."
Three-quarters of the university's students is white. And, now, the school is putting the question directly to students in a questionnaire: "How do we make sure that in future years we are not as white as we are today?"
Shepard said, "I needed to provoke attention to the changing demography of our state, and when you use words like 'white,' that does get people's attention."
Conservatives are blowing their tops and calling Shepard a "bigot" and a "racist," all par for their course. But acknowledging the reality of domination by white people—white supremacy, in other words—and seeking to change it is the opposite of racism.