Ever ask why there’s a Black History Month but no White History Month? There’s even Asian Heritage Month in May, Native American History Month in November, and National Hispanic Heritage Month in September through October.
Well wonder no more, Portland Community College has named April “Whiteness History Month.”
But don’t get too excited. It’s not going to be anything like Black History Month where we learn about the contributions one particular race has brought to the country. It’s the politically correct opposite.
Via Campus Reform
‘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,” PCC states on its website. “The project seeks to inspire innovative and practical solutions to community issues and social problems that stem from racism.”The WHM site makes clear that the project is not a “celebratory endeavor” like heritage months, but is rather “an effort to change our campus climate” by “[challenging] the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness.”
The initiative was conceived by a subcommittee of PCC’s Cascade Campus Diversity Council, which noticed that “evidence from hiring data, student-led research, surveys, focus groups, college-wide emails, and other sources have illuminated the underlying reality of whiteness embedded in the overall college climate.”
According to a sub-page defining the term (adapted from a definition developed by the University of Calgary), whiteness “does not simply refer to skin color[,] but [to] an ideology based on beliefs, values, behaviors, habits, and attitudes, which result in the unequal distribution of power and privilege based on skin color.”
Not only does the concept of whiteness allow those who are “socially deemed white” to accrue benefits, the page asserts, but those benefits “are accrued at the expense of people of color, namely in how people of color are systemically and prejudicially denied equal access to those material benefits.”
The ideology of whiteness, it continues, dates back to “at least the seventeenth century, [when] ‘white’ appeared as a legal term and social designator determining social and political rights,” a concept that eventually grew to include “thousands” of “special privileges and protections” for white citizens.
While details about the specific programming are not yet available, PCC does outline the objectives that it seeks to accomplish through the project, as well as the concepts it would like students to explore over the course of the month.
In the “Context” category, for instance, the school challenges students to explore the meaning and history of whiteness, specifically how it “[emerged] from a legacy of imperialism, conquest, colonialism, and the American enterprise.”
Following from that, PCC wants students to explore the “legal, cultural, economic, social, environmental, educational, and/or intrapersonal consequences of whiteness,” especially in terms of the winners and losers that result from it.
Finally, the school asks them to consider “alternatives to a culture of white supremacy … approaches and strategies to dismantling whiteness … [and] the roles and responsibilities of white people and people of color in dismantling whiteness.”
We don’t have any demographic information on those who will be celebrating these festivities, but ironically I won’t be surprised if there’s a shortage of whites observing their newly-crowned month of remembrance.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]