Thursday, December 22, 2016

Legislators Try to Censor University Educators in Whiteness Dispute

Republican legislators in Wisconsin object to a UW Madison elective course on "The Problem of Whiteness." Apparently there weren't any problems when federal law restricted citizenship to "white" people, when water fountains, train cars, public transportation, schools, housing, and virtually everything else in the country carried the label "white" or "colored." Studying this problem's history and continued legacy is vital to achieving accurate knowledge about American history and society and acquiring the tools we need for improving our democracy and the lives of our fellow citizens.

I submitted the following letter to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper:

"I regularly include the debate over "whiteness" in my critical race theory units at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Thus I am alarmed by threats made recently by government officials who want to silence such debates. "White" was first used in a federal law in 1789 to restrict who could become a naturalized U.S. citizen. In the following two centuries, the word was used to restrict access to virtually every right and privilege in the U.S., from bubblers to buses, voting, marriage, schools, housing, and jobs. This has indeed been a problem. Its legacy continues to influence inequality in the U.S. and create tensions among our citizens. Many "white" people have been leaders in the fight against racism. Examining the problem created by the invention of "whiteness" as a system of legal and social privilege is not an attack on people who think they are white. It is simply one important task in the larger effort to root out the fallacy that human beings belong to "races" and that this should determine their life chances and treatment. Ignorance of this problem and its history benefits no one in the long run."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Nicholas Kristof's New Op-Ed on Why Whites Just Don't Get It

When will people who think they are white accept SOME responsibility for the systemic racism that still plagues our country? Here's Kristof's opinion piece. You can catch up on the whole series here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"All Lives Matter" vs "Black Lives Matter"

In the Huffington Post, John Halstead offers a concise account of why white people should NOT respond to the Black Lives Matter movement by reacting with "All Lives Matter." He offers a number of common sense analyses of the illogic of such responses, and suggests they come largely from the discomfort white people feel in having to admit that racism still shapes American life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Has Whiteness Lost Its Privilege?

In a recent article in the New Yorker, Hua Hsu discusses the question of whether the economic plight of lower-class whites has wiped out their racial privilege and given rise to a new form of white identity politics. Many such whites, especially men, express anger at the notion that they are privileged and resent what they see as special treatment of "minorities." It has been reported that such men form a core constituency for Donald Trump. Is their perception of oppression accurate, or do they merely miss the dominant role that racial privilege once afforded them? The article draws directly on the new book by Nancy Isenberg, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. Widely-praised, Isenberg's book has also been criticized for discussing the working class as if it were only white.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Campus Reform" runs article about this web site.

Campus Reform article about this web site.

The conservative-learning web magazine has written a description and analysis of my web site, perhaps because of the growing debate over race and Black Lives Matter on campus. While the article itself is not a vicious attack, the hate mail I am receiving shows how deeply racist feelings run in the United States among defensive "white" people.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

White Delusions About Racial Injustice-Op Ed by Nicholas Kristof

n 1962, 85 percent of white Americans told Gallup that black children had as good a chance as white kids of getting a good education. The next year, in another Gallup survey, almost half of whites said that blacks had just as good a chance as whites of getting a job.

In retrospect, we can see that these white beliefs were delusional, and in other survey questions whites blithely acknowledged racist attitudes. In 1963, 45 percent said that they would object if a family member invited a black person home to dinner.

This complacency among us white Americans has been a historical constant. Even in the last decade, almost two-thirds of white Americans have said that blacks are treated fairly by the police, and four out of five whites have said that black children have the same chance as white kids of getting a good education. In short, the history of white Americans’ attitudes toward race has always been one of self-deception.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Jewish Identity and Whiteness