You may think that, as Martin Luther King famously said, people should “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But officials at Portland Community College (PCC) obviously don’t agree. The school has designated April “Whiteness History Month” (WHM), which, the initiative’s website informs, is not a “celebratory endeavor” as is “Black History Month” but seeks to challenge “the master narrative of race and racism through an exploration of the social construction of whiteness.” (yes, thems code words). SFGate.com provides more details on the program:
How much racism is baked into our society? Officials at an Oregon community college say the answer to that question may lie in studying “whiteness.” … Diversity Council members have put out a call for contributions through panel discussion, film, lecture and seminar formats. They’re looking for people to present on a broad array of topics, including “Who benefits from the consequences of whiteness? Who loses from whiteness?” and “What are the roles and responsibilities of white people and people of color in dismantling whiteness?”
Critics may note that who really benefit from “whiteness” are those getting paid to give courses and speeches about it. And what is “whiteness”? The WHM site is kind enough to explain, writing, “Whiteness has a long history in European imperialism and epistemologies. It does not simply refer to skin color but an ideology based on beliefs, values, behaviors, habits and attitudes, which result in the unequal distribution of power and privilege based on skin color. Whiteness represents a position of power where the power holder defines social categories and reality — the master narrator. … ‘Whiteness’ as an ideology derives from the historical practice of institutionalizing ‘white supremacy.’
Many critics would point out that the WHM program is just thinly veiled anti-white bigotry, and certain news outlets reported the program as amounting to “whiteness-shaming.” PCC denied this, with school spokesman Kate Chester saying in an interview, reports the Oregonian, “There’s a difference between white and whiteness, and that might be what some of the conservative bloggers don’t understand.” And what is this supposed difference? The WHM site again:White v. Whiteness
White, as a term describing people, refers to light skinned people of European descent.
Whiteness refers to the construction of the white race, white culture, and the system of privileges and advantages afforded to white people in the U.S. (and across the globe) through government policies, media portrayal, decision-making power within our corporations, schools, judicial systems, etc.
But is it that “conservative bloggers don’t understand” WHM — or that they do understand that PCC could stand for Politically Correct College?
First, realize that PCC’s race theories are now ubiquitous in academia; having gained great currency in recent years, they’re generally known as “white privilege” (WP). But when pondering the supposed distinction between white and whiteness, one may wonder: The Nazis claimed there were problems inherent in “Jewishness.”
Would today’s leftists consider this to have been okay if the National Socialists had drawn a distinction between Jews and Jewishness? And if a university today had a course expounding upon problems it claimed were inherent in “blackness,” would it pass muster if they said, “Our critics lack understanding; there’s a difference between ‘blackness’ and blacks”?
If the supposed problems in question have nothing to do with white people, why designate the theory with a racial descriptive? Why not just call it “Privilege Theory”? And if this unfair system really exists, did it spontaneously generate? Was it ordained by God? Obviously, culture and economic systems are created by people. Given this, what people do the white-privilege social engineers blame it on? Blacks? Hispanics? Asians? American Indians? Perhaps their dodge here would be that it’s a “collective” problem, as they like that word and love “collective” solutions.
(which, interestingly, always are orchestrated by a small group at the top). But no matter how much lipstick they put on their pig of prejudice, if they were honest they’d render their message thus: “White people have created an unfair system that benefits themselves.”
Moreover, PCC states that “whiteness” is a big problem requiring “dismantling.” And since whiteness refers to, as PCC tells us, “the construction of the white race, [and] white culture,” it must follow that the “deconstruction” — or even destruction — of the “white race” and “white culture” are necessary.
Some years ago I debated “white privilege” (WP) on a radio show with a man who had a Ph.D. in “ethnic studies.” I told him if he wanted to claim that this force existed, the burden was on him to prove it. He said that whites’ greater level of success — in particular their higher incomes — vindicated the theory. So, knowing he’d feel constrained by political correctness, I pointed out that Jews have higher incomes than non-Jews and asked him if he’d be willing to attribute that to “Jewish privilege.” His response? He said that Jews can’t be privileged because we “know” they’ve suffered discrimination.
Translation: “Higher incomes are proof of my theory. Except when my theory says that higher incomes are not.”
It was circular reasoning and bespeaks of the actual evidence for WP theory: none. It’s an article of faith.
Of course, as with climate-change theory, the “solutions” for WP always seem to involve government-enforced social engineering, more regulation, and a growth in state power. And the calls for such will be unending when “equality” of outcome is the stated goal. Why? Because it’s wholly unnatural — and thus unachievable.
Do we see equality in nature? Trees, insects, and animals are unequal even within the same species, with some being stronger, hardier, and better equipped to survive. And there are hierarchies; for example, a silverback leads a gorilla troop and a dominant male lion leads a pride. People are no different. As Dr. Walter Williams put it in 2011, “There is absolutely no evidence that statistical proportionality is the norm [in man’s endeavors and experiences] anywhere on Earth.” He then provided some examples:
Jewish Americans are less than 3 percent of our population and only two-tenths of 1 percent of the world’s population. Yet between 1901 and 2010, Jews were 35 percent of American Nobel Laureate winners and 22 percent of the world’s.
Asians routinely get the highest scores on the math portion of the SAT while blacks get the lowest. Men … are struck by lightning six times as often as women.
During the 1960s, the Chinese minority in Malaysia received more university degrees than the Malay majority — including 400 engineering degrees compared with four for the Malays, even though Malays dominate the country politically. In Brazil’s state of Sao Paulo, more than two-thirds of the potatoes and 90 percent of the tomatoes produced were produced by people of Japanese ancestry.
Also note that the United States’ highest-earning religious group is Hindus — but no one would talk about “Hindu privilege.”
In a sense, though, there is white privilege. For if, like PCC, you define “whiteness” as “white culture” and view this, as the Left does, as synonymous with Western culture, we can speak of Western privilege. This is enjoyed by all those living within that culture and all those beyond it who embrace its glories: prosperity, technology, and a respect for human rights previously unknown in the annals of man. And by demeaning it as “white privilege” and seeking its “dismantling,” the so-called purveyors of “equality” threaten to plunge us into a thousand years of darkness.