Portland Community College Announces 'Whiteness History Month'


Portland Community College is introducing "Whiteness History Month" this spring, but the school emphasized the event is neither "celebratory" nor meant to "shame" anyone.

This year on Martin Luther King Day, Campus Reform broke the news that PCC announced its WHM initiative and billed it as an "entire month [for] 'whiteness'-shaming." But the term "whiteness" was a calculated choice by PCC administrators and the school went to great lengths to get it right.

"There's a difference between white and whiteness, and that might be what some of the conservative bloggers don't understand," PCC spokeswoman Kate Chester told The Oregonian. "There's been serous discussions about why we're doing this."

WHM will be aimed at exploring the nooks and crannies that are rarely addressed in everyday discussions on race and racism.

"It's readily accepted that white history is taught, year-round, to the exclusion of minority histories. But the literal history of whiteness - how and when and why what it means to be white was formulated - is always neglected," PCC's WHM website read. "The construction of the white identity is a brilliant piece of social engineering. Its origins and heritage should be examined in order to add a critical layer of complexity to a national conversation sorely lacking in nuance."

The initiative came from a subcommittee of the school's Cascade Campus Diversity Council, one of four such groups formed following recommendations made in 2005. As PCC's WHM website referenced, there is an ongoing "national conversation" on race and racism.

Starting in April, PCC will host presentations, lectures, panel discussions, film and music analyses, workshops, plays, art, and more. The school is accepting proposals for such demonstrations and campus events throught Feb. 1.

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