A new video by the Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) aims to explain the black experience to white people through fictitious “white privilege” glasses.

The video would be a joke if only there aren’t people who might actually take it seriously.

In the video, a black couple explains to their white, male friend that he is privileged and when he doesn’t believe them, they give him a pair of plastic glasses with red and green lenses. These faux virtual reality glasses don’t transport him anywhere, but they supposedly allow him to see life through the perspective of black people. Furthermore, when he wears the glasses, the white people he interacts with view him as black.

For example, while walking along a road a mother pushing a baby stroller smiles kindly as she passes him, but as soon as he puts on the glasses, she clutches her purse and darts across the road. You can imagine what happened when he goes to the corner store or, worse, walked near a police officer.

The school said it created the video “to spark discussions and inspire dialogue about this very serious issue. We want to start people thinking, talking … acting.”

CTS is a part of the United Church of Christ and says it’s mission is to serve “Christ and the churches and the wider faith community by preparing women and men in the understandings and skills needed for religious leadership and ministry to individuals, churches, and society.” This school appears to have a history of fighting for racial justice dating back to the abolition movement. They claim to be the first seminary in America to award the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree for his activism in the Civil Rights movement.

But, what would Dr. King, Jr. think of their dogmatic views:

“Many of us born after the Civil Rights Movement grew up with programs like Sesame Street and through those kinds of programs, in our classrooms, and in many of our homes, we were given the message that race doesn’t matter – that skin color doesn’t matter. But, in reality, it does matter.

We may want to work for and dream of a society where race doesn’t matter but today, in our world, it does matter. It matters in educational outcomes; rates of arrest and incarceration; risk for diseases. It matters in life and death ways.”

The problem with this video and supplementary materials is that they make sweeping generalizations and perpetuate stereotypes about the experiences of both black people and white people. Suggesting that every white person is fearful, suspect, or antagonistic of a black person neglects the progress made toward racial healing and is a gross misrepresentation of the problems that persist. Not every black person has experienced racism nor are they triggered with memories of slavery when they see street names bearing our Founding Fathers. It teaches students to look for discrimination and hate where there may be none at all. It also paints cops as out to get black people.

The Chicago Theological Seminary should be embarrassed to spend donors’ money producing videos that perpetuate stereotypes rather than helping students work together or fostering understanding between their community and law enforcement. If this is what they teach in seminary perhaps that is why fewer young people are matriculating.

Interestingly, declining attendance at seminaries is leading them to merge or be taken over by other colleges and universities. The 40-acre campus of CTS is slated to be purchased by nearby Butler University, which will lease buildings back to CTS. What’s concerning is that CTS could gain a whole fresh set of malleable young minds to brainwash with campaigns like their white privilege glasses.