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Book Review: White Guys on Campus – Racism, White Immunity, and the Myth of “Post-Racial” Higher Education; the American Campus

“White Guys on Campus: Racism, White Immunity, and the Myth of “Post-Racial” Higher Education” humorously discusses racial discrimination that continues to impact higher education in the USA. Nolan Cabrera unveils decades of racial discrimination in higher learning institutions and provides insight into how white supremacy has evolved and mutated over the years in these facilities (Cabrera, 2018). White Guys on Campus is a renaissance of white fragility. The book provides an in-depth picture of the problem associated with the entitled white guys on campus and offers comprehensive insights into addressing this problem. White Guys on Campus asserts that racism persists in higher learning institutions and has morphed to worrying levels.

Nolan Cabrera’s core goal in the book is to explore white supremacy and white immunity in higher education institutions. Specifically, Cabrera analyzes how white male undergraduate students’ attitudes and opinions often result in the marginalization of students of color (Cabrera, 2018). Additionally, Cabrera offers suggestions on the best strategies to eradicate this social issue. Racism is prevalent and deeply embedded in structures and processes of all USA organizations and institutions, including higher education facilities. Race and the associated racial injustices have been a major social problem in the USA for centuries. It is true over the past decades’ extensive strides have been made to address racial discrimination. These changes have created an illusion among white supremacists that racial inequality is no longer a social issue in higher learning institutions.

Indeed, in the past few years, a collective idea has developed, particularly among white supremacists, that white Americans are being left behind. However, Cabrera’s analysis of white supremacy and white immunity illustrates that racial inequality persists, and it is mutating for this same reason. At the beginning of White Guys on Campus, Cabrera states, “When you are accustomed to privilege, equity feels like oppression.” The quote pinpoints how racism in institutions of higher learning is morphing. Indeed, over the past half a century’s subtle racist attacks have evolved to brash white supremacists attacks. In recent years, these supremacists often use the term ‘reverse racism’ to defend their bold, unmasked racism. The book focuses on white male students who currently believe that they are the victims, the marginalized group, based solely on the fact that people of color have more opportunities and better platforms to voice their opinions. Cabrera’s book is particularly relevant in a society that believes it is in a “post-racial” era, yet the attitudes and views of a group of white male students continue to undermine and disregard efforts to eradicate racial discrimination in institutions of higher learning.

Cabrera focuses solely on how white supremacy and white immunity facilitate the marginalization of students of color in higher education. Indeed, race being a major social issue in the USA; there are thousands of texts that address race and racism in higher education. However, Cabrera focuses on the study of whiteness and associated opinions and attitudes and the role of this whiteness in racial discrimination (Cabrera, 2018). Grounded on white supremacy and white immunity, White Guys on Campus focuses on a group of male students that previously did not hold the marginalized identity but are increasingly embracing the opinion that they are the victims of contemporary racism. According to Cabrera, these white male students, who previously enjoyed the perks associated with being White, feel like victims because the USA is making evident strides to eradicate racism and create racial equality in higher learning institutions. For instance, these individuals feel entitled to attend Black Student Unions and feel “excluded” when they are not welcomed in such spaces. These men feel victimized due to political correctness and any efforts to create equality at both the campus and national levels. In retrospect, white supremacy and the associated entitlement among white students is undoing all the efforts to eradicate racism in higher learning. As Cabrera asserts, the book is “intended to be an analysis of Whiteness at the service of students of color.”

Despite Cabrera’s harsh view on the persistence of white supremacy among white male students on campus, he offers insightful yet unapologetic suggestions on how white guys on campus can overcome white supremacy. Cabrera asserts that this group can identify racism, see themselves as complicit, and take evident efforts to eradicate racism (Cabrera, 2018). Cabrera advises people of color to protect themselves by being involved in their communities and avoiding harmful interactions with white people. Cabrera also recommends that people of color take a more active role in encouraging white people who have taken an initiative to be more racially conscious. White Guys on Campus insists that it is essential for white people to be proactive in their racial development journey and encourage their families and friends to do the same (Cabrera, 2018). Apart from his advice to people of color and white people, Cabrera posits that higher learning institutions have a role to play. He calls upon universities and colleges to speak against white supremacy. Cabrera advises institutions to take active roles such as expanding support for underrepresented students, discouraging social practices grounded on white supremacy, and encouraging white students and faculty to work through their whiteness.


White Guys on Campus brings to the forefront an aspect of racial discrimination that needs to be addressed. Cabrera’s blunt approach to white supremacy and its role in facilitating marginalization of students of color is precisely what we need as a society. Undeniably, his impenitent disregard of the idea of reverse racism because it has no empirical basis is the greatest strength of the book. Cabrera’s dedication to criticizing reverse racism expands his arguments from white supremacy to white immunity. Despite his blunt opinions and suggestions, Cabrera holds a strong opinion that white people can work through their whiteness and embrace racial equality rather than feel threatened by it. His argument that it is possible to overcome whiteness makes the believer in me to envision an anti-oppressive future where white people interact equally with people of color. However, Cabrera sounds almost pessimist throughout his text. In the last two chapters, while he offers insightful solutions on how to address the issue, his main advice is for people of color to practice appropriate self-care with the argument that whiteness has many defenders. How are we, as a society, expected to grow and achieve an anti-oppressive environment if the first instinct is self-preservation? In my opinion, it is crucial for people of color, white people, and institutions of learning to take the initiative to address whiteness. This is particularly important since institutions of higher learning enroll students from different backgrounds. Therefore, students of color can assist white guys on campus, grounded on their whiteness, to broaden their perspective by interacting with them and encouraging them to take the initiative to develop.


Cabrera, N. L. (2018). White Guys on Campus: Racism, White Immunity, and the Myth of “Post-Racial” Higher Education (The American Campus). Rutgers University Press.


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