27 March, 2006

Loxism on Campus: Self-Hate Obligatory, Says Colorado

Posted by alex in academia, loxism, Whiteness Studies at 4:28 pm | Permanent Link

[A reader writes..]

Guilt-tripping whitey

While never mentioning black crime. Or that whites are justified in their distrust of blacks. Or that this nation was based on race. Or that our “privileges” arises from our innate superiority. Or that we whites produced the technology on which the whole world depends. Or, that our societies are so manifestly superior that all third world savages are stealing their way into every Western culture.

Why would they do that if the society we whites built wasn’t better?

But I doubt they mention any of that. Diversity implies inequality. And some, by definition, will naturally be inferior. And that should be celebrated. Or, we could mandate that everybody be the same size, same weight, and same IQ. Maybe we could even pretend or be mass-hypnotized into believing “we’re all equal”.

I rather doubt they have any courses in cultural Marxism or the Frankfurt school in America’s colleges, don’t you? Marx and the Frankfurt school, weren’t they Jews?

Or … our critics could go back to living in mud huts.


Whiteness studies look to redefine notions of race

Columbia News Service via Naples News.com, FL ^ | March 25, 2006 | Brian Costa

Katie Fleischer, a senior at the University of Colorado, had just started watching an anti-racist documentary in class one day when something on the TV screen seemed all too familiar. The film, “Blue Eyed,” showed an Iowa schoolteacher with blue eyes giving special treatment to those students who also had blue eyes.

“That’s basically what classes are like sometimes,” said Fleischer, 26, a white student who said she has had only white professors. “You go into it and you have a certain background and the professor looks like you, thinks like you. It’s kind of like you’re given a free token.”

“Whiteness Studies,” the title of the class in which she saw the documentary, is a controversial look at what it means to be white in America. Dozens of colleges have introduced similar courses over the past several years. Many focus on the privileges that white people experience, sparking debate over whether the field educates or merely demonizes whites.

“Whiteness is pretty much unexamined and invisible to most whites,” said Duncan Rinehart, a professor who teaches the class in the sociology department at Colorado. “I think most whites are well-intentioned. They just don’t experience race as much of an issue.”

Whiteness studies means different things to different people. The names of the classes vary, from “The Power of Whiteness” at Providence College to “White Racism” at the University of Connecticut. They are taught in departments like sociology, American studies, ethnic studies and women’s studies.

But all share similar views of American history — mainly, that whiteness is a false notion that has long been used to deny wealth and power from nonwhites. Many of the courses are taught by white professors to largely white classes, although the demographics can vary depending on the racial complexion of the school.

The purpose of teaching whiteness studies is both academic and socially progressive, professors said. By understanding the social structure that has given whites privileges, the idea goes, students will be better equipped to help end — or at least reduce — racial inequalities.

“The greatest difficulty in the class is to help white students begin to identify their racism,” said Elaine Cleeton, a sociology professor at State University of New York at Geneseo, where her “Sociology of Whiteness” course was introduced in January.

Many conservative critics have questioned the legitimacy of the entire field of study, calling it a leftist exercise in white bashing that stands in contrast to the celebratory nature of other ethnic studies classes.

“It’s pretty ridiculous,” said Jason Mattera, a spokesman for the conservative Young America’s Foundation. “I doubt anyone’s view is going to be changed by studying whiteness studies. What is going to change is they’re going to look down now against white people.”

Critical writing on the subject can be traced back as far as W.E.B. DuBois. And required readings in many classes include books from the 1970s and ‘80s.

But only after a 1997 conference at the University of California, Berkeley called “The Masking and Unmasking of Whiteness” did more than a handful of colleges begin offering whiteness studies classes. Jeff Hitchcock, executive director of the Center for the Study of White American Culture, said that as more professors took a research interest in the topic, more colleges began offering related courses.

If nothing else, the classes have provoked thought. According to professors who have taught the classes, it often takes time before students feel comfortable enough to talk openly about race. But once they do, they speak passionately.

Liz Standley, a 20-year-old junior in Rinehart’s class, recalled a February class in which a white girl expressed frustration about how nonwhites are treated as victims when whites deal with stereotypes about their wealth and privilege. A black girl in the class was incredulous, Standley said.

“I walk down the alley at night and people turn the other way,” the girl said. “You don’t see that.”

Standley said later: “You had people in class standing up and being like, ‘You’re ridiculous,’ to both parties. It was definitely heated.”

The debate over white identity and privilege has also played out within the families of some students. When Fleischer mentioned white privilege to her parents, she said they seemed taken aback. Then they became defensive, she said, arguing that they never owned slaves, had lots of black friends and were not at all racist.

“They act like I’m being accusatory but I’m not,” Fleischer said.

When a whiteness studies class was introduced at San Francisco State University in 2004, the reaction went beyond campus discussion. After a story on the class appeared on a local television news program, Amy Sueyoshi, the Japanese-American professor teaching the class, said she received hate mail from area white supremacist groups for several weeks. The school added security patrols outside her office and had an officer escort her to her car at night.

Rinehart, like other professors interviewed, maintained that the purpose of whiteness studies is to understand white identity, not criticize it. But he also said the classes could do a better job at looking at white cultural contributions.

“Any culture has its magnificent things that it’s done and not so good things, and whiteness is the same,” he said. “It’s neither all good nor all bad. It’s a lot in between.”

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  7. One Response to “Loxism on Campus: Self-Hate Obligatory, Says Colorado”

    1. Bonnie Says:

      Go to http://www.fredoneverything.net/FOE_Frame_Column.htm and check out #200, “whiteness studies/Ethnic Purgation, Academic Disaster.” It’s the very best thing I’ve ever read on this topic & says everything that needs to be said.