Washington Post podcast asks White people to form 'accountability groups' to atone for their race

Washington Post podcast asks White people to form 'accountability groups' to atone for their race
A sign hangs on the Washington Post building September 2, 2014 in Washington, DC (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Washington Post sparked outrage following the latest episode of its podcast series as it urged readers to form "White accountability groups" and feel "deep shame" over their race.

Titled the 'New Normal' and hosted by Emmy nominated reporter Nicole Ellis, the series was originally launched last spring to discuss the coronavirus pandemic. Following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, the podcast shifted its conversation towards racial injustice.

The latest episode in question, launched on Friday, discussed how White people could combat white supremacy. One of the suggestions was forming so-called "White accountability groups" to atone for race-based allegations.


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"An antiracist culture does not exist among White people," trauma specialist Resmaa Manakem said while introducing the concept. "White people need to start getting together specifically around race." According to him, these groups must meet and discuss for at least five years before "you end up with a community that is aligned with each other."

Rebecca Toporek, a professor in the Department of Counseling at San Francisco State University, added that such groups would be "really helpful in terms of having a place to process, having a group of people whose responsibility it is to call me on things, or to challenge me."

Trauma therapist Ilyse Kennedy, who claimed to be participating in such a group, said it was imperative that members experienced a "period of deep shame for being White and for acknowledging the harm that our ancestors have caused." She added that White people "can't ask people of color to hold our hand."

Meanwhile, Toporek insisted that such measures are necessary for Whites to separate themselves from white supremacy. "Part of the structure of racism ... is to keep us from recognizing that racism is part of our daily lives," she said. "So it's a longer term process of looking at your understanding of yourself in the world, both historically but also contextually. Also the family you live in, the community you live in, and what role whiteness plays in that."

People listen to a speaker at a Black Lives Matters (BLM) protest in a park in Brooklyn on September 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Several prominent figures lambasted the Jeff Bezos-owned newspaper over the racially charged segment.

Senator Marco Rubio reacted on Twitter, "The old Marxism forced the 'bourgeoisie' to be re-educated. The new Marxism calls for 'white accountability groups' to go through a 'period of deep shame' to better understand 'your whiteness & the ways that white supremacy benefits you.'"

Jesse Singal likened Ellis and the others to a cult, tweeting, "This is a very strange pseudoreligious movement that is likely to do more harm than good."

"I'm fighting against race supremacy; the Washington Post wants to install it everywhere," Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow for the Manhattan Institute, wrote. "The game is that they want to create an essentialized racial category ("whiteness"), load it with negative connotations, then impose it on individuals through guilt, shame, and school indoctrination. This approach is reductive, manipulative, and malicious. Don't fall for it," he added.

"A 5 minute video propagating ignorant neoracist nonsense," another Twitter user chimed in. "It's really astonishing the extent to which this stuff is becoming mainstream and normalized, especially by the press."








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