In Their Own Words: Rachel Spraker

Rachel Spraker (she/they) is assistant vice president-equity and inclusive excellence at the University of Virginia, one of 15 staff members in the university’s Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Here’s how the web page describes her job (words in bold highlight rhetoric characteristic of intersectional-oppression ideology, colloquially referred to as wokeness):

Rachel develops, implements, and evaluates policies, practices, and programs which seek to advance the representational diversity, inclusive capacity, and sense of belonging of the University’s workforce and learning community. Rachel has previously served on the executive board of the American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity and as an equity consultant for institutions of higher education.

Rachel grew up in a small town in rural Appalachia in what is now called Virginia, on the traditional territory of the Tutelo people. Rachel was a first generation student at UVA where they earned their bachelor’s degree in history and foreign affairs. Rachel holds a Master of Science in Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University with work focused on landscapes of racial violence and is currently a doctoral student at UVA in the School of Education and Human Development.

Spraker has not published any academic articles, but her approach to diversity, equity and inclusion can be discerned by the ideological framework employed in her master’s thesis and articulated in several video recordings. Of particular interest are her thoughts about “environmental violence,” “dying of whiteness,” “white toxicity,” the “emotionality” of whiteness, and the justification of racial preferences.

Here follows the abstract from Spraker’s 2017 master’s-level sociology thesis, “What’s Haunting Jackson Ward? Race, Space and Environmental Violence.” By way of background, Jackson Ward is a historically African-American neighborhood in the City of Richmond that has been gentrified in recent years.

This research is about examining the way in which racialized environmental violence contributes to exploitative social relations becoming embedded in the everyday world. I argue that the space of the everyday has been produced through cycles of social relations proceeding from and/or tied to racialized environmental violence. I continue the work of critical scholars in asserting that social and environmental violence is linked in the same ideological impulse which seeks to hide itself behind a variety of alienating processes. The slow way in which environmental violence works is particularly impactful in these processes because of its attritional lethality, contributing to premature death. I studied these processes by examining the histories surrounding the site of a construction day labor firm in Richmond, Virginia. My methodology includes archival research on newspapers, public documents, and secondary sources establishing that the patterned co-location of social and environmental violence does not occur by chance.

In the following clip, taken from a 2021 AntiRacist Table video on Advancing Racial Equity at the University Level, Spraker cites the book, “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland.” In that 2019 book Jonathan M. Metzl argued that racial resentment fueled policies that led to increasing deaths by gun suicide, falling life expectancies, and rising dropout rates. Spraker adopted Metzl’s narrative in speaking about where she grew up.

Pull quote: “In the place where I grew up, you could see it, where white people were dying of whiteness, too. … I had a couple of cousins, they had friends, like, the toxicity of whiteness around them, and certain things that were happening for them. … many of them were dying prematurely also … in their twenties.”

In the next clip, also from the AntiRacist Table video, Spraker used the term “emotionality.” She does not define the term, perhaps assuming that listeners understand its meaning. In searching for an explanation, we came across an article, “When White Dwarfs Burn Our Color: Whiteness, Emotionality, and the Will to Thrive in Higher Education.” As examples of “the emotionality of whiteness” in the context of discussions about race, the authors mention “resistance, deflection, and color-evasive discourse [that] can derive from feelings of shame, guilt, and discomfort.”

Pull quote: “I work at a predominantly and historically white institution … so there’s a lot of emotionality in a lot of different ways. I think one thing that’s been important for us in some of our … education work and specifically the anti-racism education work is to help people understand that our goal is really simply just to give them context and tools for reflecting on the world around them. And so specifically for white folks… it’s abouthelping them focus on the distinction of whiteness as an identity and whiteness as an ideology …  and being able to make that distinction, giving them thinking tools and reflection tools to understand that difference of when you’re talking about ideology which is where a lot of it sits is that you’re really talking about those structures.”

In the following two clips, from a Towson University Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity program in 2022, Spraker discussed remedies for past historical wrongs.

Pull quote: “There’s also some things happening that just tie to americanism in a particular way or around these sort of notions of individualism, merit, what you do about past harms? So why should I as a person who’s coming up to this decision I am innocent of these past harms why should I lose in this so-called you know this perceived zero-sum game lose out to someone who’s getting this preference for something that I didn’t even do?”

She goes on to answer the rhetorical question:

Pull quote: “It’s seen as bad that we’ve put this [racial] preference on there because it’s perceived that we have an otherwise level playing field … not recognizing that in fact maybe we don’t have a level playing field yet after multiple centuries …  of systemic distribution of benefits of the state and civil society.

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Thomas Gorman
Thomas Gorman
2 months ago

Gobbledygook!

Clarity77
Clarity77
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Gorman

Thank you, exactly the word running through my mind as I finished the article. Nice to know as a formerly proud UVA alumnus the Ed School now even offers doctorate level degrees in gobbledygook. I am sure over at Gilmer where I was a biology major it will not be long till woke crap will, if not already, be a part of doctoral degrees there as well as in all other hard sciences.

Wahoo 76
Wahoo 76
2 months ago

I never heard such ridiculous blabbering. I also grew up in Appalachia, long before she/they did, and if anyone was “dying of whiteness”, I sure didn’t see it. We have to keep fighting to eliminate this infestation of wokeness from UVA.

William Calary
William Calary
2 months ago

And the university pays her over $166,000 a year.

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Geoffrey Close
Geoffrey Close
2 months ago
Reply to  William Calary

How many first generation scholarships could her salary fund?

Bear Bogen
Bear Bogen
2 months ago

Other than her obsession with ” whiteness, ” I have no idea what this lamebrain is talking about, and I suspect she doesn’t either.

Anne Carson Foard
Anne Carson Foard
2 months ago

This makes the usual mistake of trying to cloak reality in academic phraseology to make a point when in fact it could just be said that West Virginia is an incredibly racist place. Being Unionist did not automatically make anyone pro-equality; quite the opposite, in fact.

John Hunt, MD
2 months ago

oh my. What garbage. You forgot to highlight the wokeness in the phrase “they earned their degree…

UVA Past
UVA Past
2 months ago

UVA does not need my contribution.

walter smith
walter smith
2 months ago
Reply to  UVA Past

But The Jefferson Council sure could use it! We get NO help from UVA…in fact we get opposition…while we have to pay real money to bring noted speakers to Grounds and UVA will only invite and pay for speakers that agree with the Admin’s narrative.

Until the course is corrected, we need, and appreciate, all help.

UVA Past
UVA Past
1 month ago
Reply to  walter smith

Agree and will give.

Walter smith
Walter smith
1 month ago
Reply to  UVA Past

Thank you! We appreciate all help.

Geoffrey Close
Geoffrey Close
2 months ago

It is not surprising that she naively affiliated with a tribe that promulgated cruel torture on their captives be them white or other indigenous peoples, just as no doubt she would sympathize along with her woke colleagues with the criminals who promulgated cruel and sexual tortures this past October upon innocent women in the name of being freedom fighters.

TonyM
TonyM
2 months ago

…and UVA expects ordinary, reasonable people to make contributions to support this imbecilic nonsense? What normal person would choose to send children to be educated at and institution that promotes these absurdities?

The Bootstrap Kid
The Bootstrap Kid
2 months ago

15 member “Diversity Division “??!! The woke poison has a death grip on UVA. I’m 76. My bet is that I will not live long enough to witness the liberation of UVA from this woke madness.

Clarity77
Clarity77
2 months ago

Thank God for the TJC and its work. Looking forward to the TJC conference on April 9th!

Old Hoo 66
Old Hoo 66
2 months ago

Al Kelly, the famous double talk artist, must have written this material. In any event, he would have enjoyed conversing with this particular UVA official and other recent hires. Truly amazing field of study.

Walter smith
Walter smith
2 months ago

The elephant in the room… Is Rachel a male?
This is me – my opinion – I refuse to say biological male or biological female. By biology, we know there are males and females. I will not be forced into saying “biological male” or “biological female.” Someone with gender dysphoria, and I am firmly in this camp, never “completes” transition. Besides being contrary to every cell in the body, and surgeries that appear newly masculine or feminine, a lifetime of very expensive pharmaceutical products follows, all with their own complications. Ignoring the many studies that show that transition does not “fix” issues and appears to have higher dissatisfaction post transition (there is a brief period of happiness and reality sets in later). Is not the more compassionate thing, certainly the far more economical thing, to try to make this confused person happy in the body as it is, instead of what it will never be?
And, if I am correct that this is a mental issue, and I am correct here, could not UVA find a better professor? Oh, that’s right, excuse me…the entire DEI ideology is crazy, so maybe Rachel belongs “teaching” the only thing Rachel is qualified to teach.

We are living in a time of insanity, and no one will call it out.
(And if Rachel is actually a female, I apologize. The facial features appear masculine and the “they” plural pronoun instead of “her” formed my conclusion.)

Bill Theus
Bill Theus
2 months ago

Blathering!

And, these are the people Biden’s student debt relief would assist.

Martin Anthony Senell
Martin Anthony Senell
2 months ago

If I had not read this stuff I wouldn’t believe anyone could write such. Calling it gobbledygook is being overly kind.

Patrick Ryan
Patrick Ryan
2 months ago

Obvious budget cut – nothing at all of value here.

A DEI hire who is likely hiring additional DEIs causing a spreading infection.

UVA FourSquare Male
UVA FourSquare Male
2 months ago

A delusional clown at best!

Peter LeQuire College '65
Peter LeQuire College '65
2 months ago

Seems that the most prominent social/moral issue when I was at the U was ending segregation. The civil rights acts of 1964 and 1968, and the voting rights act of 1965 were part of our nation’s turn away from racial inequality. Those laws were not some sort of magic wand which made inequalities disappear, but they were the starting point for an (ongoing) effort to rid unequal treatment from public life. They were, in a sense, aspirational, but the movement was toward a tearing down of meritless barriers to our educational and economic systems, not the creation of more and more fragments of our population seeking ways to be offended.

That is not the case now and has not been for several years. Divisiveness rules, and the irrational creation of groups of people seeking to be offended (rooted in untruths) seems to be the basis for public (and educational) institutions’ policies. While there are bigots of every shape, size and color, I suggest that there are too many remarkably successful people of both sexes from every race for the claim of “systemic racism” to have merit. Merit has no color

Wahoo74
Wahoo74
1 month ago

I think I was able to glean one cogent thought from this SNL skit of woke DEI philosophy.

Rachel Spraker/they clearly has a high degree of self-loathing for her whiteness. If Spraker is a they who is ethical and true to they’s word (I hope I’m grammatically correct here; the woke pronouns are still new to me), shouldn’t they quit they’s job and hand it over to someone descended from the aggrieved Monocan Indian tribe who used to live on the land where UVA was built, or a direct descendant of a slave who built the Rotunda?

Just asking……

Jordan Stoll
Jordan Stoll
1 month ago

All the more reason to write the Board of Visitors to stop this nonsense. Hopefully Governor Youngkin will appoint members who will reign in this divisive and toxic dogma. Continue to withhold financial support which funds this indoctrination.

Toni Blair
Toni Blair
1 month ago

Good Lord! This is going to be a long battle. Let’s remember that who you vote for makes a difference!

Runcible Spoon
Runcible Spoon
1 month ago

Clown college now has UVA for competition. I don’t know how you people can sleep at night after spending your days cheerfully injecting young minds with poison, bigotry, ignorance, and self-hatred.

NorgeMan
NorgeMan
1 month ago

Is this person a tranny?