It’s called the looney left coast for a reason. A lot of capital “C” crazy comes to the rest of the nation from California, Washington, and Oregon. The latest episode of weird? “Whiteness History Month,” brought to you from Portland, Oregon. Don’t hate them, they don’t have an NFL team. California has four.
But wait, it’s not what you think it is. While Black History Month celebrates the movers and shakers of the civil rights era, jazz culture, and prominent black men and women of history, Whiteness History Month takes the opposite approach.
So this April, check your privilege, you racist. Learn something about your innate, oppressive nature, whitey. At Portland Community College, they’ll teach you all about how much you suck.
Unlike Black History Month, which is observed nationally, the project at Portland Community College “is not a celebratory endeavor,” according to the school’s website. Rather, “it is an effort to change our campus climate” in a way that critically examines white privilege and racial power structures.
Racial power structures. Do you even think that phrase existed in the civil rights era? Probably not. But I could be wrong, I am, after all, mostly white. Except in the summer, when I’m gloriously tan. Tan privilege?
PCC faced backlash on Monday from conservative critics who derided the program as “whiteness shaming” and complained that it was a sign of pressure to be politically correct.
At least we can be grateful for a little pushback. A lot of good things are white. Snow, clouds, milk, the paper you use for your protest signs… wait, does that make the protest signs innately racist?
The subcommittee is looking to create events that address questions like: “Who benefits from the consequences of whiteness? Who loses from whiteness? How?” or “In what ways does whiteness emerge from a legacy of imperialism, conquest, colonialism and the American enterprise?”
That’s a lot to unpack in just one small paragraph. So instead, I have a few of my own questions to ask about this little pow wow they’re having. If there are “consequences” of whiteness, then are there benefits? That’s how dichotomies work. “Who loses from whiteness?” That assumes that some people win from whiteness, and here’s a curveball, what if some of the benefactors of whiteness are non-white?
Hey, don’t call me a racist, I’m just asking. Also, how are we defining “whiteness”? Does Shaun King count? Rachael Dolezal? Is there a whiteness scale? Are albinos, for example, more privileged than people who are part indigenous peoples and can tan? What about red-haired people? They’re usually super white, but they face plenty of discrimination. Also blondes, especially women, are the butts of many jokes. Will these grievances be addressed? Curious minds want to know.
Rhetorical questions, all of them. Except about the albinos. I’m still curious about that one. Are you an albino? Tweet me at @Courtneyscoffs and we’ll talk about your super white privilege and how much guilt you should experience daily.