Portland Community College in Oregon has designated April as Whiteness History Month.
As we all know, February is Black History Month. Why is it that we’re allowed to devote an entire month to black history? After all, we wouldn’t be allowed to have a White History Month. That would be racist.
We can have the Congressional Black Caucus, but not a Congressional White Caucus. It’s okay to have the Black Panthers, but a White Panthers group would be synonymous with a neo-Nazi terrorist organization.
As it turns out, the Cascade Campus Diversity Council, a subcommittee at Portland Community College, has decided that April should be Whiteness History Month. It may not be what you think. It’s not White History Month. In fact, they say that every month is devoted to “white history.” Rather, April will focus on the history of “whiteness,” according to their website pcu.edu:
“Whiteness History Month: Context, Consequences and Change is a multidisciplinary, district-wide, educational project examining race and racism through an exploration of the construction of whiteness, its origins and heritage. Scheduled for the month of April 2016, the project seeks to inspire innovative and practical solutions to community issues and social problems that stem from racism.”
What do they mean by “whiteness?” According to their website, it doesn’t refer to skin color, but an ideology:
“Whiteness is a socially and politically constructed behavior. It has a long history in European imperialism and epistemologies. Whiteness does not simply refer to skin color but an ideology based on beliefs, values, behaviors, habits and attitudes, which result in the unequal distribution of power and privilege based on skin color. Whiteness represents a position of power where the power holder defines social categories and reality—the master narrator. Whiteness originates racism. It is relational. “White” only exists in relation/opposition to other categories in the racial hierarchy produced by whiteness. Whiteness is a state of consciousness, often invisible, shaping how white people view themselves and others and thus perpetuating ignorance throughout communities. Cultural racism is founded in the belief that “whiteness” is the universal…and allows one to think and speak as if Whiteness described and defined the world. The meaning of whiteness is historical and has shifted over time.”
Whiteness History Month is okay, because it is critical of “privileged” white people. Of course, to them, “privileged white” is redundant. If you’re born white, you’re born privileged and inherently racist. And there’s not really anything you can do about it. The most you can do is come to terms with your own privilege and accept that you were born racist. This new Whiteness History Month will seek to help students understand the origins of “whiteness” as an ideology.
H/T: Campus Reform