You are here

Whiteness studies

And to round out recent discussions of race, racism and antiracism, here’s a good reference for whiteness studies.

Share/Save

Comments

Interesting. As far as I can tell, the Whiteness Studies discipline is all about deconstructing and debunking white identity. The goal is to delegitimize European Americans. David Horowitz touches on this in his book HATING WHITEY.

This is in sharp contrast to Black Studies, Chicano Studies, Women Studies, Queer Studies, etc., where as a broad rule the subject in question is studied and celebrated in a constructive, collaborative atmosphere.

I would have to disagree that the purpose of whiteness studies is to debunk and deligitimize white indentity. The very purpose of the new discipline is to enhance awareness of white culture itself, while illustrating the ways in which all other cultures are affected by it. A key factor to consider are the scholars who are spear-heading the discipline in academic circles across America. These are White Americans who have a clear view from the inside.

I’ve always viewed such phenomena as more utilitarian in nature than anything else. I think it’s safe to say that proponents of such programs aren’t interested in meaningful discourse. A partial purpose of such things is to protect beneficiaries of affirmative action by placing them beyond academic competition in sham disciplines dominated by like students where objective standards are, not only nonexistent, but frowned upon.

Obviously, the purpose is different in some respects with “Whiteness Studies” because whites (with the exception of women) don’t receive the AA program’s largess. It seems more of an effort to create a liberal version of the late 1800s missionary training school. The ultimate target is whites who either don’t care or are fence stradling when it comes to ethnic identity. There is no substitute for a few native converts to spread the gospel to their fellow ethnics.

Since the slogan of Whiteness Studies is “Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity,” it would seem to be difficult to maintain with a straight face the assertion that Whiteness Studies is nothing but a scholarly discipline aimed at an objective understand of whiteness.

I would be very interested in the source of the statement, “Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.” Is this something written, or something heard? Also it would helpful if you could elaborate further on the exact meaning of the statement.
This is no doubt a fascinating study and one that is going to gain a lot of momentum. There seems to be a feeling that this type of study is simply aimed at bringing out the negatives of white culture. (Now here is an interesting thought, if there are those who believe that there are no negatives, then the discipline validates itself.) I can however certainly understand this concern. One of the major concerns of American history itself is that it has not been all-inclusive. This is why when one completes a study of Black, Latino, or Native American History etc, there is an enhanced feeling of exclusion as new facts of cultural contributions come to light.

Since K. Otis commented on the real meaning of Whiteness Studies, one would have assumed he knew something about the topic. But apparently he is unfamiliar with the single phrase most widely associated with Whiteness studies and used as the slogan of its principal exponent. I suggest he start by looking up “Noel Ignatief” and “whiteness studies” at google.

This may not be of much use, however, since K. Otis, after initially describing Whiteness Studies as an objective scholarly pursuit, and then after hearing that its real purpose is to promote treason to whiteness in the name of humanity, turns around and says that there’s no contradiction between these two positions. After all, he says, white culture has not equally included everyone in the world. Therefore to study white culture is to study its insufficient inclusiveness. What he doesn’t say, but which is inherent in his statement, is that this flaw can only be remedied by white culture equally including all cultures and thus going out of existence.

Thus, according to K. Otis, there is no contradiction between an objective study of whiteness and an agenda to destroy whiteness.

It’s like saying there’s no such thing as anti-Semitism, but only legitimate criticism of Jews that is falsely called anti-Semitic. Since Jews are the enemies of humanity and ought to be exterminated, to point out these obvious facts is not “anti-Semitic” but just truthful.

Thank you for your insight and thougts Mr. Auster. You must have misread my position on the matter. This is most certainly a concern of mine as well as yours that the agenda is not do destroy whiteness. White studies by all means should be an objective scholarly pursuit. In studying white culture there is naturally going to be an examination of its flaws and insufficient inclusiveness as well as it’s many positive attributes.

Your statement that I think that, “The flaw can only be remedied by white culture equally including all cultures and thus going out of existence,” is taken widely out of context. This is really not what was said or intented. It is true however, that American History is one example mentioned, and the thought here is to convey the enriching and awarness that such an inclusiveness would bring to the table for all involved.
My third point is perhaps the most important and is with respect to Jewish Culture. There is an extraordinary book titled, “The Jewish Phenomenon”, that clearly defines my love and admiration for this culture. There is no other culture that is so highly and successfully represented per capita in American Life.
A closing thought. There may be a deep seated fear in White Culture that inclusiveness(the word equal was never mentioned) means “going out of existence”. This is perhaps one more area that the discipline may bring to light. I think we’re on the same page, we just have to do a bit more to bridge our thoughts.

K. Otis

Why should anyone reading VFR be interested in yet another radical liberal discipline designed to create a circumstance in which every radical leftist voice is “balanced” by other radical leftist voices? I have no doubt that many or most radical leftists think that they are “objective”, but it really doesn’t matter whether or not the political-correctness dynamic is entered into honestly. It is still political correctness: that is, the saturation of all of public discourse with strictly leftist voices thereby destroying all traditionalist voices. If K. Otis wants to find folks who are capable of wearing those sorts of blinders while convincing themselves that they are not he might have better luck over at NRO.

The aim should be for individuals to feel connected to their own tradition. This requires an immersion in their own culture and history.

Multiculturalism makes this difficult to achieve, in part by insisting on the inclusion of a variety of often conflicting perspectives.

The failing of white culture in recent times hasn’t been insufficient inclusiveness but the opposite: a disruption to the process in which individuals are immersed in their own culture.

“Ethnic studies” as practiced today represent stepping outside of one’s own tradition and treating it as an object of clinical dissection and manipulation. If “black studies” were an activity engaged in by whites in a mostly white polity with a strong white culture then it might make sense as an objective study of the Other in order to better understand him. No doubt some of that goes on even in our current degenerate state.

But a comprehensive programme of ethnic studies—including white studies—in a modern liberal multicultural polity like the U.S. serves a different function (purposely or not). Through a process of comprehensive objectification culture and tradition in general are separated from humanity in general and become objects of technological manipulation rather than particular mediators of the transcendent to be properly respected and obeyed.

You see the same sort of things since Vatican II in modern liturgical studies (of the Mass) in the Catholic Church, for example, under the guise of a worry about “pastoral issues”—that is, objectification and technological manipulation of tradition in order to achieve some desired human-willed outcomes. The reason Vatican II was so important as a council to moderns, despite the fact that it expressly did not make any de fide statements whatsoever, was that it set loose modern “pastoral” tendencies: that is, the tendency to objectify and manipulate tradition rather than being obedient to it from within. So the ethnic studies types are just catching up with the neocon tendencies within the Catholic Church. As a Catholic myself, as the saying goes, when they start talking about pastoral issues I reflexively reach for my revolver. (Of course that is partly Larry Auster’s fault).

First I would like to follow up with a comment to Mr. Auster. It took only a moment to dissect the information with respect to Ignatiev. His position has no basis for reality and meaningful discussion. There is however a good deal of insight to many of his assumptions on white privilege. I would personally never position myself in favor of his radical views. Secondly, any fears that this is the focal point (perhaps a better term is “event horizon”) for white studies should be laid to rest. It does bring to bear a thought that it is the very nature of what white studies was intended to examine: and that is the nature of White American Culture, with all of it’s many facets and how other cultures are affected by it.
With respect to Mr. Richadson’s posting. “The aim should be for individuals to feel connnected in their own tradition via an immersion in their own culture and history.” This is true and I agree completely. What short cicuits the overall process is when children of all nationalities study our national heritage”, or “our civilization”. The information is channeled and made to focus largely on White America’s achievements. This is the exclusion spoken of and which is now beginnng to be addressed. But this is only one small facet of an entire thought process (which is tied into an entire culture). This is the focal and starting point of “White Studies”.
Last thought is in follow up to an idea that “Inclusion is a disruption to the process
in which individuals are immersed in their own culture”. One would assume that the more one knows about another culture, the more enriched we become as a nation. I wonder does this really mean, “I would prefer to keep to myself, and they to themselves”.

Sure, the legitimate culture is the multi-culture, which turns out to be none other than liberalism. This is new?