Re: Can I Blush?


"My social group has always been white," she said. "I've noticed that, and I've started to look beyond my group." - said one supposedly white chick who took that class.

If you can go your entire life up to undergrad and have only white friends, in America, maybe you actually DO need a class on whiteness. I mean, what are the odds of not having one close, minority friend for twenty years?

The program is a waste for anyone else.

What's interesting, btw, is that people like the aforementioned student are going to come out of the course with an eye toward seeking out friends from a minority group - based entirely on that minority "status" (which isn't really a status but a statistic). It's a new racial preference and a new racism; the student above explicitly admitted it.

Posted by: its jake | Link to this comment | 06-20-03 10:29 AM
horizontal rule

Those are good points. More broadly, there's an honest paradox in race studies: you have to acknowledge race in its undeniable manifestations (economic, cultural, linguistic, etc.) before you can say in good faith that you've moved beyond it. It's easy to err in both directions. This class doesn't evidence much of a desire to move beyond race and conservatives often seem glib, as if to say, "I'm not thinking about your blackness anymore, I don't know why you are." It's a tough question, but this class is just funny.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-20-03 10:35 AM
horizontal rule

You pointed out that interesting quasi-duality of "I'm not thinking about you being black anymore" at the same time as actually having to hold that thought in your head.

My undergrad Psychology of Racial Prejudice class took a pragmatic approach. It first proved that most people have subconcious racism. You can test your own by going here: and selecting the racial IAT. Then they took the pragmatic approach that racism is workable so long as people do not act on the attitude. Using objective criteria in your decisions, from hiring and admissions to what kind of friends you make is the answer that came out of the course. Is this person fun to hang out with and trustworthy? Is this the best resume' / c.v. on file? Is this LSAT score above the cutoff?

The course didn't tackle affirmative action - that was a sociology topic.

Posted by: its jake | Link to this comment | 06-20-03 11:33 AM
horizontal rule

An interesting article but what's with the institutionalized self-loathing? Almost everyone concedes the fact that history has been written by the "winner" which is primarily old, white, men with property.

I found the part below particularly troubling.

He said later that confronting whiteness, day to day, is challenging. "I am racist. It's not on the surface, but it's in me. Day to day I hear racist comments, and people don't even know what they're saying."

It's in you? Don't get me wrong, nothing makes me laugh harder than when a white person says, "I have lots of black friends" and the idea that there is something like "white privilege" (choose your own politically correct phrase) is unmistakable but to identify the social problems that create that privilege as racism at an individual level is just silly.

Sounds to me like race has gone from a political construct designed to control people to an academic construct designed to confuse people.

Posted by: Zygote | Link to this comment | 06-20-03 1:04 PM
horizontal rule