Oregon College’s "Whiteness History Month" Is Not What You Think It Is

A community college in Portland is trying to fight racism and supremacy by devoting an entire month to white culture in the most unconventional of ways.

After Black History Month in February, National Hispanic Heritage Month in the fall, Asian Heritage Month in May and Native American Heritage Month in November, a college council in Portland is now planning to make April the Whiteness History Month.

However, unlike its predecessors, this particular month will not be a celebratory endeavor. In fact, the Diversity Council at Portland Community College Cascade Campus, which launched the program, has deemed it as an effort to study how whiteness transformed from pigmentation to privilege.

In other words, the organizers want to examine what it means to be white and deconstruct the origins of “whiteness” as part of the project that intends to “inspire innovative and practical solutions to community issues and social problems that stem from racism.”

The council has even posted an online mandate, which to the probable dismay of supremacists, will look at how whiteness “originates racism” and how it has created a racial hierarchy oppressing non-white minorities.

“The project seeks to challenge the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness,” the organizers stated. “Challenging the master narrative of traditional curriculum is a strategy within higher education that promotes multicultural education and equity.”

The council has also released a number of questions they want to pose over the course of this “exciting adventure.”

Take a look:

  • What is whiteness and how is it socially constructed?
  • In what ways does whiteness emerge from a legacy of imperialism, conquest, colonialism and the American enterprise?
  • What are the legal, cultural, economic, social, environmental, educational, and /or intrapersonal consequences of whiteness?
  • What are approaches and strategies to dismantling whiteness?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of white people and people of color in dismantling whiteness?

Needless to say, shaming someone because of their skin color is immoral and unacceptable — regardless of them being black or white. However, the so-called Whiteness History Month is certainly a non-conventional approach to addressing racial hierarchy embedded in the American society.

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters

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