Has ‘Whiteness Studies’ Run Its Course?

Alex P. Kellogg, WTAE (Pittsburg), February 1, 2012

Among university departments that study African-American history, Latin American or Chicano cultures and all varieties of ethnicities and nationalities, there’s a relatively obscure field of academic inquiry: whiteness studies.

While there are no standalone departments dedicated to the field, interdisciplinary courses on the subject quietly gained traction on college and university campuses nationwide in the 1990s. Today, there are dozens of colleges and universities, including American University in Washington, D.C., and University of Texas at Arlington, that have a smattering of courses on the interdisciplinary subject of whiteness studies.

The field argues that white privilege still exists, thanks largely to structural and institutional racism, and that the playing field isn’t level, and whites benefit from it. Using examples such as how white Americans tend not to be pulled over by the police as often as blacks and Latinos, or how lenders targeted blacks and Latinos for more expensive, subprime loans during the recent U.S. housing crisis, educators teach how people of different races and ethnicities often live very different lives.

Most of the instructors specialize in sociology, philosophy, political science and history, most of them are liberal or progressive, and most of them are, in fact, white. Books frequently used as textbooks in these courses include “How the Irish Became White” by Noel Ignatiev, an American history professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and “The History of White People” by Nell Irvin Painter, a professor emeritus of American history at Princeton; but the field has its roots in the writings of black intellectuals such as W.E.B. DuBois and author James Baldwin.

In the past, detractors have said the field itself demonizes people who identify as white.

But today, academics who teach the classes say they face a fresh hurdle, one that has its roots on the left instead of the right: the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president.

“Having Obama is, in a curious way, putting us behind,” says Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a professor of sociology at Duke and visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Bonilla-Silva, the author of books like “Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America” and “White Supremacy & Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era,” says it is harder than ever before to convince college students that studying white privilege is a worthwhile or necessary endeavor.

{snip}

{snip} Even some young students of color are more skeptical than ever before.

That’s dangerous, they argue.

{snip}

For now, the field continues to evolve. The annual White Privilege Conference, to be held this March in Albuquerque, N.M., is now in its 13th year. Organizers are expecting to draw several thousand people, from college professors to high school students.

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • B

    White privilege does indeed exist. Nature has given us a higher IQ average
    and greater moral sense.

    • Anonymous

       Like the one they had in Germany from 1933 to 1945.

      • Thomas Carr

         Indeed. One thing that always fills me with optimism about our chances of regaining racial consciousness is reading desperate writings of German intellectuals before 1933. and how they were convinced that Germans, as a people, were defeated and were unlikely to regain their identity. And then 1933. came and everything changed.

    • Anonymous

      Higher I.Q., yes. Greater moral sense, I’d say not.  The woes of today are due to transgressions due to the European hyper-dominance of the past.  Our colonialism morphed into mass 3rd world immigration.  Our wealth into decadence, complacency, and low fertility.  Our wars and atrocities into white guilt. 

      We in no way untainted, but who isn’t anyway?  I care little beyond the practical here and now matter of things, and I hardly want to see the death of this race or civilization.  The hammering of Nazi Germany simply means nothing anymore, for an exterminator race of Aryan people is the least likely of apocalyptic possibilities to befall the world.  In many ways, it may even be preferable to the course the west sails so ignorantly this day and age.

  • Anonymous

    “Books frequently used as textbooks in these [“whiteness studies” courses include “How the Irish Became White” by Noel Ignatiev.”

    ====

    Noel Ignatiev is a memorable character. When at Harvard decade or so ago, he made a splash of sorts by advocating the abolition of the white race:

    “Make no mistake about it: we intend to keep bashing the dead white males, and the live ones, and the females too, until the social construct known as ‘the white race’ is destroyed—not ‘deconstructed’ but destroyed.” Noel Ignatiev, professor, Harvard University, in Harvard Magazine, September-October, 2002)

    One can readily understand why Harvard would want this fellow. In fairness to Ignatiev, however, when challenged by a sixteen-year-old white girl asking, “Why do you hate me because of my white skin?” he demonstrate an ability to reply to the youngster in a less incendiary fashion:

    “We do not hate you or anyone else for the color of her skin. What we hate is a system that confers privileges (and burdens) on people because of their color. It is not fair skin that makes people white; it is fair skin in a certain kind of society, one that attaches social importance to skin color. When we say we want to abolish the white race, we do not mean we want to exterminate people with fair skin. We mean that we want to do away with the social meaning of skin color, thereby abolishing the white race as a social category. Consider this parallel: To be against royalty does not mean wanting to kill the king. It means wanting to do away with crowns, thrones, titles, and the privileges attached to them. In our view, whiteness has a lot in common with royalty: they are both social formations that carry unearned advantages.”

    Ignatiev’s defense of his anti-white racism fails, however, because he is arguing by means of false analogy. Crowns, thrones, titles are extraneous to the individual. As they can be granted, they can be taken away. White skin is an immutable characteristic of white people. It is not a “social construct.” Whites can no more lose their whiteness and its “social meaning” — whatever history and public opinion determines it to be — than can a polar bear its white fur. It’s an indelible part of who they are.

    But good try, American universities, as regards your “whiteness studies” innovation. One can only admire your diligence in pursuit of your objective.

  • Anonymous

    Why not compare the advances made my whites in science, technology, and mathematics?

    Oh, I’m sorry, not hating whites is considered “racist”.

    Let me repeat the mantra I’ve heard on YouTube a thousand times: “Anti-racist is a code-word for anti-white”.

  • Using examples such as how white Americans tend not to be pulled over by
    the police as often as blacks and Latinos, or how lenders targeted
    blacks and Latinos for more expensive, subprime loans during the recent
    U.S. housing crisis, educators teach how people of different races and
    ethnicities often live very different lives.

    Seems I went through all that in the Duluth thread.  Actually, the mortgage thing was an example of non-white skin privilege.

    Books frequently used as textbooks in these courses include “How the
    Irish Became White” by Noel Ignatiev, an American history professor at
    the Massachusetts College of Art

    Fine print:  Ignatiev actively advocates for white genocide.

    The annual White Privilege Conference, to be held this March in Albuquerque, N.M., is now in its 13th year.

    Albuquerque?  Why not Duluth, Minnesota?  Rooting out non-existent “white privilege” seems to be the order of the day up there.

  • Anonymous

    The country will be run more and more by Urban Americans and Mestizos…..no two ways about it….this is the filthy liberals plan.

    Is society going to be better when run by these people…..no way if history is any guide. But it makes the filthy liberals feel good……that is all that matters.

  • Anonymous

     it is harder than ever before to convince college students that studying white privilege is a worthwhile or necessary endeavor.

    Good. One can hope these kids are just not buying this nonsense anymore.

    That’s dangerous, they argue.

    Yes, I’m sure they think so. The end of the White guilt era would be devastating to the race hustlers of the world. They fear White racial unity most of all, IMHO.

  • Anonymous

    “Books frequently used as textbooks in these courses include “How the
    Irish Became White” by Noel Ignatiev, an American history professor at
    the Massachusetts College of Art and “The History of White People” by
    Nell Irvin Painter, a professor emeritus of American history at
    Princeton”

    There’s a decent book on the subject for sale over there ——–>

  • So Blacks go to school to get degrees in African American studies, or “Ethnic Studies” or my personal favorite “Social Justice” and they wonder why Detroit, New Orleans, etc. are rotting toilets.  No need for “Whiteness” Studies, just go to your local Art History Department or Art Cinema class.  Better yet if you don’t major in some Liberal Arts Bullshit like “European Studies” you can major in Engineering or Theoretical Math and actually be of some use to society.

  • Anonymous

    The idea that a majority of a nations population being of one racial or ethnic group would naturally have advantages is common sense.  Once enough people who are not of the majority group have enough numbers to make their advancement in the face of this disadvantage a politically consequential issue, ideas like “white privilege” are invented to use in the typical Frankfurt School of Critical Theory; call the name long enough and it begins to gain traction politically, even though the idea is absurd and is obviously aimed at robbing the host population of its culture, nationhood, and eventually – lives.

  • Anonymous

    “and God said:”Let there be white people to take care of those who do not have the necessities”.

  • Anonymous

    removed by FKW

  • Anonymous

      So, are you an engineer or a mathematician, a pathologist or something useful yourself? 

  • Anonymous

    I’m not about to say that anyone who values their time ought to go and bother to learn about the latest fashionable trends in academic “anti-racist” theory, but if you do, you will soon learn that terms like “whiteness,” “white privilege,” and even the word “racism” itself are among an entire lexicon of jargon used to build what amounts to a myriad of different ways of arguing for anti-white dispossession.

    When you encounter someone slinging around these terms, you’ll find that these concepts are presented as though they’re backed up by some gold standard of truthfulness. This is absolutely not the case. 

    “Whiteness” and “white privilege” are academic “designer” terms contrived specifically to advance a very specific agenda. The way the terms work put not just opponents of the agenda, but anyone who might only be skeptical or slow to agree to the agenda on the defensive, as well as to cast that person’s moral character in question. The very definitions of the concepts denoted by the terms are designed to do this. It’s obnoxious.

    Even the word “racism” has been redefined by so-called “anti-racists” into a new definition that is laughably counter-intuitive. You will always know when an anti-racist is in the proverbial room when you hear something like “it is impossible for a person of color to be racist” or “racism = prejudice + power” or some other similar nonsense. Usually when an anti-racist tries to pass off this nouveau definition of the word “racism” they’ll be met by howls of laughter from normal folk, a healthy sign that at least in this case, the speech police of the Red Guards of the extreme academic left have overreached, as they always do.

    Obviously this is a big topic, but what I mean to get across most to fellow Amren readers is that academic leftist jargon is an insidious rat’s nest of language they use to try to build the appearance of legitimacy for their anti-white goals and aims. Don’t buy their sophistry, and you can start by casting a skeptical eye at terms like “whiteness” and “white privilege.” Never accept arguments built around these “designer” terms.

    • Anonymous

      Your comments about language in academia as a cover for white dispossession are worthy of a full article. I’d love for you to expand on this and write a piece to be posted on AR. Please consider doing so.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks sbuffalonative for your very kind reply. I will definitely consider it.

  • Anonymous

    “How The Irish Became White”!?. I’ve not actually read the book (and I’m sure it’s full of the same sociology-speak as Ignatiev’s answer to the white 16 year old), but I can tell you that the ethnic Irish never became white, they’ve always been white – and I mean White in the real sense, not as in terms of some “social category”.

    In a sane world, individuals like Noel Ignatiev would be confined to a padded cell, given regular medication. 

  • Ano Namouse
  • Anonymous

    those who actively advocate for White genocide are most likely to advocate for the death of God.What western nations are experiencing now in relation to diversity and multi-culturalism is exactly what our Christian God had warned against(Tower of Babel).

  • I started responding to this Article on the original Article but had to stop.  It’s just too much.

    Every other word that was written can easily be argued and I did start doing that but it becomes redundant and a waste of time.  They’re simply repeating, over and over again, falsehoods.

    I guess they’re going by the Old and Trusted:  Say it enough times and even you will start to believe it…

  • They took my comments off the Original Article from the “has Whiteness run its course” but to try to reconstruct here:  (the other one was so much better!!!)

    White Privilege is being forced to help pay for Non-White
    Groups.  Mexicans, Hispanics, Indians,
    Chinese, Japanese, Muslims and Blacks too, all have numerous Groups that seek
    to Help, Promote and Advance ONLY their own but when White People try to do
    it?  It’s “racism”.  That’s your “White Privilege”.

    White Privilege is being forced to be Government Sanctioned
    Discriminated Against for everything from Housing to Education to Jobs.  There’s your “White Privilege”.

    White Privilege is being beat within an inch of your Life by
    Non-Whites on a Daily Basis without Racism being an issue yet we get to be charged
    with “Hate Crimes” for merely speaking out. 
    More “White Privilege”…

    White Privilege is getting to watch your once Beautiful,
    Quiet and Clean Community become infested with non-whites and all their trash, graffiti,
    crime and false cries of “racism” and when you dare to speak out, you get “branded”.  This is the “Privilege” of being White.

    White Privilege is getting to be LITERALLY, the only ones
    who are Expected to Accept without Question. 
    No other group is FORCED to accept other people and their ways EXCEPT
    White People for that “Privilege” only belongs to White People.

    White Privilege is getting to be AUTOMATICALLY having come
    from a Good Family complete with Grandparents, Parents, Stability, Food,
    Clothes, Warmth, Education, Emotional Support and Good Discipline whether they had
    it or not.  “White Privilege” to you
    maybe but a flat out Lie to the rest of us.

    White Privilege is getting to watch your Country be stolen
    from you.  White Privilege is getting to
    be told how you were really never here first so you really have ‘no claim’.  White Privilege is getting to hear how you
    don’t belong.  White Privilege is getting
    made to feel “guilty” for wanting your Country for yourself.

    White Privilege is us accepting the most bizarre and
    backwards religions, traditions and customs while quashing our own and for
    who?  Not us, no, not us, no, we do it
    for you.  That is the “White Privilege”
    you found us fit for.

    “White Privilege” is getting to hear how “Privileged” we are…

    • Anonymous

      “White Privilege” is getting to hear how “Privileged” we are…”

      Very nice. I’m gonna have to borrow that if you don’t mind.

  • Excellent retort to this White Privilege nonsense.

    I am sick to death of these mentally deficient self-abasing White Marxist supposed academics perpetually denigrading, vilifying and dehumanising their own race.

    Let me state categorically on this site, that all such Marxist apparatchiks will have to be held to account for their crimes of Genocide, Treason, Sedition and Subversion when White ethnonationalism finally triumphs once again with White peoples taking back in entirety, their rightful and birthright ancestral territories.

    I am perfectly confident that the Death Penalty will be retroactively reinstated to ensure the Marxist vermin’s permanent removal from our homelands.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think anyone could argue against the intelligence of Germans. You would lose. 

    But they may have lacked a strong moral compass because they were desperate.