A Johns Hopkins Medicine diversity officer has issued a public apology after her newsletter listing Christians as a "privileged" group sparked widespread criticism.
Dr. Sherita Hill Golden, Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity, sent the controversial newsletter in January, defining privilege as "a set of unearned benefits" enjoyed by specific social groups. Her examples included “Christians, white people, able-bodied individuals, males, heterosexuals, middle or owning class people, middle-aged individuals, and English-speaking people.”
"Privilege is characteristically invisible to people who have it. People in dominant groups often believe they have earned the privileges they enjoy or that everyone could have access to these privileges if only they worked to earn them. In fact, privileges are unearned and are granted to people in the dominant groups whether they want those privileges or not, and regardless of their stated intent," the newsletter read.
The newsletter quickly went viral, accumulating over 2 million views exclusively on Twitter following its endorsement by the conservative influencer, End Wokeness. The backlash was swift and harsh, with many accusing Golden of unfairly labeling Christians and other groups as inherently advantaged. Facing mounting pressure, Golden issued a statement apologizing for the newsletter, calling the definition of privilege "overly simplistic and poorly worded."
“The intent of the newsletter was to inform and support an inclusive community at Hopkins," Golden wrote, "but the language clearly did not meet that goal. In fact, it had the opposite effect of being exclusionary and hurtful to members of our community. I retract and disavow the definition I shared, and I am sorry."
Johns Hopkins Medicine confirmed Golden's apology, acknowledging that the newsletter's language "contradicts the values of Johns Hopkins as an institution," according to Christian Post. However, it remains unclear whether any disciplinary action will be taken against Golden, whose previous work has also touched on controversial topics like structural racism and unconscious bias training.