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Conspiracy theory: UCLA students believe soap dispensers are 'racist'

by WorldTribune Staff, May 5, 2021

Not satire: Systemic racism has, according to some students, apparently infiltrated the male, female, and gender-inclusive restrooms at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Sullivan Israel, a civil engineering student at UCLA, recounted in a <a href="https://www.thecollegefix.com/ucla-students-claimed-soap-dispensers-are-proof-of-systemic-racism-heres-my-rebuttal/">report</a> for the College Fix a debate he attended in which a black student said automatic soap dispensers did not operate for her because of the color of her skin.

"As one UCLA student claimed during the debate, automatic soap dispensers 'don’t see her hands' due to the dark pigment of her skin," Israel wrote. "As another student reiterated, soap dispensers are racist because they force 'black and brown bodies' to show their palms — 'the only light areas of the skin' — in order to get soap out."

Automated soap dispensers use a motion detector that triggers the soap to fall, rather than a detection mechanism determined by the color of someone's skin.

As Israel noted: "For anyone who doesn’t know, the sensors on soap dispensers don’t see human hands; they don’t have eyes. They work using a simple device called a PIR sensor that recognizes infrared light, which is emitted by all people, regardless of color (as long as they’re not dead). Also, I don’t know about you, but those darn things never work for me. I can’t remember how many times I’ve banged on one to try to get soap out (yet it never occurred to me to blame anti-Semitism as the cause)."

The soap dispenser theory and other "unique perspectives" on racism were not just shared by one student, "but rather a world-view that was reiterated and supported by the over 80 students who attended, or more accurately zoom-bombed, the debate," Israel wrote.

Others argued that “white people fed black babies to crocodiles” and “I had a racist teacher who was racist because she asked me where I was from.”

Israel noted: "The scary thing about these claims aren’t the ideas themselves, but rather the world-view that informs them: that systemic racism and white supremacy is all around us, and in everyone, and everything, a person encounters."

According to Merriam-Webster, a conspiracy theory is “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.”

Israel noted: "What separates believers in systemic racism from people like me is not the belief that there is still racism, or that it continues to guide some peoples’ lives. It’s the idea that all things that have an unfair outcome, from measurable things like standardized test scores, to immeasurable things like 'upsetting experiences' can all sweepingly be chalked up to racism alone.

"I would argue that systemic racism, as well as its connected tenants like critical race theory, need to be added to the list of modern conspiracy theories."

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