- The ‘White Privilege’ course description says ‘whiteness’ must be dismantled if racial justice will ever be achieved.
- Students in the class will consider how non-white Americans ‘experience and negotiate skin privilege and white normativity.’
According to Portland State University Professor’s Rachel Sanders’ “White Privilege” course, “whiteness” must be dismantled if racial justice will ever be achieved.
The course description states that “whiteness is the lynchpin of structures of racial meaning and racial inequality in the United States” and claims that “to preserve whiteness is to preserve racial injustice.”
“To preserve whiteness is to preserve racial injustice.”
Students taking the course will “endeavor to make whiteness strange.” In order to make whiteness strange, the description says students must “interrogate whiteness as an unstable legal, political, social, and cultural construction.”
The course readings and concepts are drawn, in part, from the field of “critical race theory.” According to Harvard University, critical race theory “combine[s] progressive political struggles for racial justice with critiques of the conventional legal and scholarly norms which are themselves viewed as part of the illegitimate hierarchies that need to be changed.”
The Portland State University course description claims the construction of “whiteness” attaches material and psychological benefits to “individuals who identify, or are identified, as white.”
Students taking the course will also study the literary work of writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who referred to the 9/11 first responders as “menaces of nature” in his latest book. In addition to reading the work of Mr. Coates, students will consider questions such as “[w]hat is white normativity, and how does it interact with other normative orders, including male normativity and heteronormativity?”
Students will also consider how non-white Americans “experience and negotiate skin privilege and white normativity.”
Portland State University isn’t the only university offering classes in whiteness. The University of Alabama-Birmingham, for example, is offering a course titled “Whiteness Studies” this fall, which “seeks to uncover and de-center the fiction of whiteness.”
Similarly, students at Binghamton University could enroll in “The Social Construction of Whiteness” this fall, which explores “intersections of whiteness and white privilege” and the “scholarly methods used to understand whiteness.”
The University of Southern California also gave students the chance to study whiteness this semester. “Critical Studies in Whiteness,” offered by USC’s graduate school, focuses “on how whiteness operates within specific racial regimes to perpetuate inequality.”
While many schools are offering such courses, there does not appear to be a consensus as to which department is best suited to study “whiteness.” Portland State offers its “White Privilege” course in the university’s Hatfield School of Government, UAB’s “Whiteness Studies” is considered an English class, Binghamton’s “Social Construction of Whiteness” falls under the purview of Women Gender and Sexuality Studies, and USC’s Critical Studies in Whiteness was offered by the American Studies department.
The Portland State University website lists Professor Sanders as an Assistant Professor of Political Science but does not provide any further information.
Portland State University did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment.
They even have their own blog: http://studywhiteness.blogspot.com/
And just to prove that the Left needs racism no matter what.
In the past, detractors have said the field itself demonizes people who identify as white.
But today, academics who teach the classes say they face a fresh hurdle, one that has its roots on the left instead of the right: the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president.
“Having Obama is, in a curious way, putting us behind,” says Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a professor of sociology at Duke and visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.
Bonilla-Silva, the author of books like “Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America” and “White Supremacy & Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era,” says it is harder than ever before to convince college students that studying white privilege is a worthwhile or necessary endeavor.
To many students the election of Obama represents the culmination of decades of racial progress, they say.
“You have a growing racial apathy. People are telling you, I don’t want to hear about race, because we’re beyond that,” Bonilla-Silva says. “But we still have a white America and a black America.”
Other academics who study what they see as America’s racial hierarchy say they struggle to teach that racial inequality remains a problem, and that it must be addressed. They point to more subtle indicators of structural racism like the fact that the overwhelming majority of CEOs are white men, and a vastly disproportionate number of convicted felons are black and Latino.
These academics generally agree that the end of slavery, the dismantling of Jim Crow and the election of a black president are all clear signs that things are getting better.
But that progress has slanted the mainstream narrative too far into positive terrain, they argue, leaving many to think that racial equality has arrived. Even some young students of color are more skeptical than ever before.
That’s dangerous, they argue.
“The typical college student will always say ‘What racial inequality? Look at the White House,’” says Charles Gallagher, chair of the sociology department at La Salle University in Philadelphia. “I have to first convince them that inequality exists.”
“Racism is always in the past for this generation,” he says. “How do we talk about race or racism in the United States if people think racism is gone?”
So we have to beat it into you that it exists, regardless. Create it where it doesn’t exist.
Meaning,t hey can never, ever get rid of it. They need it to exist even if it doesn’t.
Essentially, racism is a white people problem.(Huffington Post)
Sound like 2016? 🙂
So the whole “white guilt” trip is a fraud.
<Charles> Mills (professor of philosophy at Northwestern University), like other scholars who study whiteness, argues in his courses that whites in particular have a self-interest in seeing the world as post-racial. In that world, everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. The advantage of this perspective, he says, is that it allows your success in life not to be determined by race, but by how hard you work.
OMG! NOT THAT!!! ANYTHING BUT THAT! 🙂
It’s just about power, fear, and a deep psychological need to be a victim and the solution is deep satisfying sanctimony to abuse people on both sides with it.
Now THAT IS 2016. 🙂