Portland – In the eve of what will be the 40th Black History Month next February, a community college in Oregon is planning a spin-off of the annual remembrance, which they have called the 1st Whiteness History Month.
The Oregon school has posted in their website they plan to organize a series of events that will “examine race and racism through an exploration of the construction of whiteness”.
But don’t get confuse because of the name, according to a website created by the college to explain the project, Whiteness History Month will not be a celebration of whiteness, on the contrary, the website states that that the purpose behind the project is to foster solutions for community and social issues that stem from racism.
The initiative was conceived by a subcommittee of the college’s Cascade Campus Diversity Council which noticed the community issues and social problems that stem from racism in the general college climate. In response, the subcommittee decided to take actions in order to create a nationally renowned culture for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“Whiteness is a socially and politically constructed behavior. It has a long history in European imperialism and epistemologies. Whiteness 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 webpage quotes to explain the purposes of the first gather.
Whiteness history month, which will be held in April this year plans to go through a wide variety of educational formats including presentations, lectures, film and music analyses, workshops, plays, arts among others in order to examine concepts like white privilege. It is an opportunity for the college to create a space for dialogue and learning. Kate Chester, spokeswoman with the collage said. She added that it is not designed to shame or blame anyone.
Those who wish to participate by hosting a lecture, guest speaker, panel, film screening, discussion, art exhibit, or class field trip to local art or history museums are still able to sing in until February first. As the event is still on construction a formal schedule is not available yet, but The Oregonian reported that college officials expect an agenda of events, speeches and discussion sessions at each of its four campuses to be announced in the next few weeks.
Source: Portland Community College