White like me “Whiteness studies”

White like me
“Whiteness studies” is now being taught at universities from Princeton to UCLA. Unlike black studies, whiteness courses don’t celebrate the wonderful cultural contributions of whites: The idea is to make kids feel guilty.

Arlene Avakian, the chair of the U-Mass. women’s studies department, sat on a wide desk, let her legs dangle and asked the class to discuss the ideas of racial privilege, environmental comfort and social control. . .

Winnie Chen, 22, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, said it pained her to deal with race every day when her white peers seemed to rarely think about it. She tried to discuss race with a white friend once, she said, but he felt ambushed.

“He said I was pulling a Pearl Harbor on him,” she said. “It is so difficult for them to think there is another lens. He talked about Irish oppression. I asked, ‘Have you ever considered why you’re no longer oppressed here when Asians, blacks and Hispanics still are?’ ”

A white student raised her hand and said she and a friend had gone to a hall reserved for black student affairs, and the friend said she didn’t feel comfortable.

Brandi-Ann Andrade, a 21-year-old junior who is black, rolled her eyes. “So what?” she asked. “I never feel comfortable here. I’m a student at a school where most people are white. The only time I feel comfortable is when I’m at home.”

College is about feeling comfortable?

Naturally, the evils of whiteness must be inherently American, so Thomas Jefferson is blamed for inventing race in order to justify slavery. (Weren’t whites justifying slavery by claiming black inferiority from the time the first slavers raided Africa?)

“Slavery and genocide coexist with democracy and freedom,” (Avakian) said, and that’s what whiteness studies teaches. “President Andrew Jackson presided during the mass murder of Indians. If we knew in detail how slavery existed alongside freedom, we would have to change the national narrative.”

What’s especially pernicious is that many college students don’t know enough history to put all this in context.

Update: Here’s Linda Seebach’s story on a 1997 Whiteness conference in . . . Yes! Berkeley.

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Comments

  1. Cortney Gibson says:

    I have a question….if you consider the whiteness studies movement to be “pernicious”, then explain what you would rather see…..a white pride studies course? In the beginning of your statement, you said the following “……..Unlike the black studies courses, the whiteness studies courses do not celebrate the wonderful cultural contribution of whites..the point is to make students feel guilty.” The reason black studies courses have to set out to present the cultural contributions of blacks is because those realities are conveniently omitted from most general studies courses. Why would there need to be a special course on white contribution???? White contribution is the “default setting”…..that is always covered, even when the course listing is “general” or stated as “American history” ect… Why is it that some white americans refuse to realize that minorities are FORCED to set up separate forums and fight for “black studies” courses because that is the only way they will have the priviledge of seeing their own contributions and their own culture presented in a positive light. The white students don’t have to have a course on the positive contributions of their culture…..that idea permeates EVERYWHERE!!!!! Give me a break and stop trying to have a “cause”…..your entire argument is facetious at best…..just spend your energy trying to save the whales or something like your smarter white counterparts do, because trying to make an issue of this is just plain silly.

  2. Cortney Gibson says:

    I have a question….if you consider the whiteness studies movement to be “pernicious”, then explain what you would rather see…..a white pride studies course? In the beginning of your statement, you said the following “……..Unlike the black studies courses, the whiteness studies courses do not celebrate the wonderful cultural contribution of whites..the point is to make students feel guilty.” The reason black studies courses have to set out to present the cultural contributions of blacks is because those realities are conveniently omitted from most general studies courses. Why would there need to be a special course on white contribution???? White contribution is the “default setting”…..that is always covered, even when the course listing is “general” or stated as “American history” ect… Why is it that some white americans refuse to realize that minorities are FORCED to set up separate forums and fight for “black studies” courses because that is the only way they will have the priviledge of seeing their own contributions and their own culture presented in a positive light. The white students don’t have to have a course on the positive contributions of their culture…..that idea permeates EVERYWHERE!!!!! Give me a break and stop trying to have a “cause”…..your entire argument is facetious at best…..just spend your energy trying to save the whales or something like your smarter white counterparts do, because trying to make an issue of this is just plain silly.