With Caucasians still comprising 78% of the U.S. population, a course being offering at Portland State University should be seen as at best a work in progress. The course, taught by Professor Rachel Sanders and titled “White Privilege,” has as its expressed outcome the dismantling of whiteness as a step toward “racial justice.”
As the syllabus for the course explains:
Whiteness is the lynchpin of structures of racial meaning and racial inequality in the United States. To preserve whiteness is to preserve racial injustice. In this seminar we will examine the historical development and contemporary dynamics of racial inequality through the lens of white privilege. We will endeavor to ‘make whiteness strange’ – that is, to interrogate whiteness as an unstable legal, political, social, and cultural construction that confers both material and psychological benefits to individuals who identify, or are identified, as white.
The secondary goal of “making whiteness strange” sounds from the elaboration as though it could just as easily have been written as “making whiteness the enemy.”
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