Education

Oregon Community College Plans ‘Whiteness History Month’

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Blake Neff Reporter
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A community college in Oregon is planning to dedicate an entire month to investigating the history of “whiteness” and proposing solutions to it.

“Whiteness History Month” (italics theirs) is a endeavor planned for next April by the Portland Community College (PCC) Cascade Campus Diversity Council.

“‘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,” the school’s website says. The goal of the month, according to the page, is to alter a problematic campus culture at PCC.

“At Portland Community College, 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. Portland Community College’s strategic plan calls for ‘intentional action’ to ‘create a nationally renowned culture for diversity, equity, and inclusion,'” the school says.

PCC’s website includes a nearly 500-word definition of whiteness to assist those who are confused.

“Whiteness has a long history in European imperialism and epistemologies,” it says. “It 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.”

PCC also has a sizable archive of articles and academic papers that discuss critical race theory promoting the Black Lives Matter movement.

According to Campus Reform, the specifics of the event are still being worked out, as students have until Feb. 1 to apply to host a lecture, guest panel, art exhibit, or other activity tied to the whiteness theme. Applicants are requested to choose from pre-selected questions that their event can help answers, such as:

  • What are alternatives to a culture of white supremacy?
  • In what ways does whiteness emerge from a legacy of imperialism, conquest, colonialism and the American enterprise?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of white people in dismantling whiteness?

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