Oregon College Creates 'Whiteness History Month'

It's been just a tad controversial
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2016 1:54 PM CST
Oregon College Creates 'Whiteness History Month'
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are shown at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.   (AP Photo, File)

April is Whiteness History Month at Oregon's Portland Community College, NBC News reports. But instead of dissertations on the Tea Party, juice cleanses, and Macklemore, Whiteness History Month will attempt to "challenge the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness," per the event's website. NBC reports Whiteness History Month was created by the college's diversity council to improve the culture of a campus that is 68% white. "Colleges across the country continue to struggle to improve diversity, inclusion, and racial equity," the website states. "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"

USA Today reports Whiteness History Month is predictably drawing criticism from certain circles. The American Conservative calls it "hate whitey month," and Right Wing News claims it's an effort to shame white people for their "disproportionate" accomplishments. In a statement, Portland Community College interim president Sylvia Kelley says Whiteness History Month isn't trying to "shame or blame" anyone. "We view this project as part of a larger national conversation around race and social justice on America’s college campuses," she says. According to the event's website, it's currently looking for lectures, plays, and more to accomplish its goals of understanding whiteness, how it can be done away with, and what can replace it. (Read more Oregon stories.)

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