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UW Course to Explore ‘The Problem of Whiteness’

  • The University of Wisconsin-Madison is offering a class next year called “The Problem of Whiteness” that will explore how white people “consciously and unconsciously perpetuate institutional racism.”

Problem with Whiteness

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is offering a class next year called “The Problem of Whiteness.”

The course objectives, according to an online overview, are to teach students “what it really means to be white” in order to help them “understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy.”Problem with Whiteness

The course description also claims that dismantling white supremacy is the responsibility of white people, explaining that white students will learn “how they consciously and unconsciously perpetuate institutional racism” and how this affects not only “communities of color,” but also oppresses “most white folks” based on class and gender distinctions.

“After all, since white supremacy was created by white people, is it not white folks who have the greatest responsibility to eradicate it?” the summary asks. “In this class, we will ask what an ethical white identity entails, what it means to be #woke, and consider the journal Race Traitor’s motto, ‘treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.’”

The Spring 2017 course, which satisfies the university’s ethnic studies requirement for graduation, will be taught by associate professor and Ph.D. candidate Damon Sajnani, who is also slated to teach a course on “Global Hiphop and Social Justice” during the same semester.

UW has sought to address racial issues in other ways recently, as well, launching a program earlier this year called Our Wisconsin through which 1,000 freshmen attended a pair of two-and-a-half hour cultural competency workshops intended to explore appropriate ways for ethnic minorities and majorities to interact.

[RELATED: Portland State course aims to ‘make whiteness strange’]

The program was criticized for exacerbating the very racial tensions it was supposed to ameliorate, an objection that subsequently gained credibility later in the year when Campus Reform revealed that students had begun selling anti-white and anti-police hoodies with slogans asserting that “All White People Are Racist” and condoning violence against law enforcement officers.

Campus Reform reached out to Sajnani for additional information about the course, but he was not available for comment.

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