Are You ‘White Like Me’? An Exploration of White Studies

23 comments
June 28, 2013 ‐ By
Source: TimWise.org

Source: TimWise.org

 

Imagine if you were a college freshman and had to decide what you will study for your undergraduate degree. While others may choose Biology, English or Sociology, you have decided to take a chance and be a little controversial. Your choice will be White Studies.

In reality, no university has a Whiteness Studies undergraduate program. Though few have catered to create classes for interested students in the interdisciplinary field; CNN in America reports:

“American University in Washington, D.C., and University of Texas at Arlington, has 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.”

After reading the description of what White Studies entail, we may think to ourselves, “Tell me something, I do not already know”. Well actually, the creation of the discipline began through African-American discourse. To name a few, W.E.B Du Bois, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison helped unearth the need to understand white supremacy and the White race better, internationally. According to Du Bois’ The Souls Of White Folk:

“The discovery of personal whiteness among the world’s peoples is a very modern thing,—a nineteenth and twentieth century matter, indeed. The ancient world would have laughed at such a distinction. This assumption that of all the hues of God whiteness alone is inherently and obviously better than brownness or tan leads to curious acts; “But what on earth is whiteness that one should so desire it?”

No one can deny how Whiteness has become a driving force in how other races operate, socially; code-switching linguistically and through dress can be linked to Whiteness. Although this is the case, can we answer why Whiteness is so highly regarded in American Society? Especially since the White race is becoming the new minority in the twenty-first century.

The Christian Science Monitor states via the latest census report:

“Hispanics – who are defined as an ethnicity, not a race, in the census – hold the key to the nation’s demographic identity. If large numbers of them identify themselves as white, then white society will predominate in the US (albeit with a Latino flavor) for decades to come. If Hispanics forge a separate identity, then somewhere around mid-century, the non-Hispanic white population will fall into minority status and the nation could enter a new era defined by a multicultural center.”

With celebrities creating multiracial families, Barack Obama in his second term of Presidency and the Trayvon Martin case in full swing, at often times it is overheard, we live in a post-racial society. We long for other reasoning than race to help us, raise children, navigate politics or solve a case. Though Tim Wise, an anti-racism scholar does not believe so.

Wise has written several books and orated at over 600 universities on the effects of Whiteness. His new documentary (based on his memoir), White Like Me, ignites the conversation Americans needed to have centuries ago.  Tim Wise had a goal of  $30,000 to help with the documentary’s production but thanks to KickStarter he was able to receive  $41,000 so audiences across the nation can view the film. On the KickStarter site for White Like Me,Wise stated:

“Our failure as a society to properly acknowledge and confront the psychological, social, and political effects of white privilege has perpetuated racial inequality and race-based political resentments.”

Do you agree with him?

Check out  a clip of White Like Me from Tim Wise’s site below. The documentary will be released Fall 2013.

 

 

 

More from Styleblazer

More from Mommynoire

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Pingback: What My White Daughter Now Knows About Racism | myCultural Conversations

  • DRKG

    Well, since there are so many other “studies” available, then I don’t really care if they want a “white studies”.

  • tabby

    Only desperate feeble minded hispanics would fall for this trick.

  • Briana

    My entire primary and secondary career was “whiteness studies:. Give me a break!

  • marie

    Whites assume non white ppl want to be white that non whites want their skin, their life, their culture. This could not be further from the truth. Even with all of the challenges of Blacks if I had a choice to choose to be born any race, I would choose to be born black again and again. So white ppl are EXTREMELY DELUSIONAL.

    • chanela

      if this is further from the truth then how come when i opened up “black beauty” magazine the other day, every other page was a damn bleaching cream advertisement? (complete with an ethnically ambiguous model)

  • marie

    I hope hispanics know that being “invited” to refer to themselves as white is one of the ways whites are trying to extend their agenda and use hispanics to maintain control. Whites want hispanics to walk away from their culture and racial identity to assimilate so as to save the white race. Wow. This is how sick with the need for total power and selfish and desperate white ppl are to maintain control because as we know, racial discrimination was created to gain power. In this country, its not really about race, its about power and control, whites have used it as a tool to incapacitate blacks, hispanics and asians so they are allowed to control.

    As I said, hispanics better not fall for this!!

    • chanela

      i’m sure they are truly honored and excited. just like every other non white ethnicity, they would LOVE to be considered white. just look at the spanish soap operas.

  • willie

    American History is White Studies.

  • Jamie

    This should be easy for him. He shouldn’t have any problems at being white. They have all the priviledges. They can almost do what they want and say what they want and get away with it. I don’t care if he decided to color his skin, they will never know and see what it is like to be black. What really gets me that these whites think they know so much about blacks and they don’t even really know. I am not even going to waste my time in watching this. pleWhites have prividges. Simple as that.

  • Angela R. Ingram

    Now this is a post worth reading. Very interesting, thank you.

  • E J

    If you know Tim Wise’s work he pushes the envelope and forces people to look at racism from different point of view for example in the book Between Barack and a Hard place. He definitely has a strange method but one that should be taken into consideration.

    • Thaalia

      Wise has been around for YEARS and people are still sleeping on him!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/thesapphireempress96?feature=results_main A.J.

    It’s telling, and sad, that we need academic studies to tell white people about the privileges that they’ve held for centuries, and why people of color are worse off than they are.

    • Wichiti

      Are people of colour less happy than White people? I’m Caucasian, and I don’t think non White people are less happy.

      Why? Because different races have different interests, goals, different communal expectations.

      We also have different racial abilities, both physically and mentally. The average Caucasian IQ is 100. Black American = 87. African IQ is in the 70s. East Asian IQ is in the 106-108 range.

      Black people are not White people. Black people cannot build societies that resemble White ones.

      Once upon a time, everyone inherently knew this. But it seems it must actually be restated after decades of soft-peddling self-esteem based propaganda to Black people, with no one daring to assert some historical and racial reality.

      Black people living in a White society live far safer, richer lives, with more opportunity, than living in an all Black society, eg, Africa, Haiti.

      • rainydaze80

        Keep drinking that koolaid Wichiti. The question wasn’t whether non-white people are less happy than whites, but rather or not we face more challenges as non-white people. For example, in my corporate career, I’ve found that no matter how many degrees I have, how many years experience I have or how many languages I can speak, upper management would still rather pick a white or white-looking hispanic person with less qualifications than me to do the job. My only saving grace is having an Anglo-sounding name, so I can at least get the phone call when I submit a CV. Then when my black face shows up for the interview, I can hear the collective gasp in the office and they immediately start typing up the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ letter while I’m on my way out to the car.

        If you want to talk about unstable governments in Africa, it has nothing to do with the people’s mental ability. As a matter of fact, many of the people from the region who immigrate to other countries become successful engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc. The biggest problem in Africa is the history of Europeans pillaging the continent for its resources and the subsequent enslavement and genocide of its people by said Europeans. European colonisers carved out arbitrary borders in Africa to take advantage of its wealth, then grouped together people of different ethnicities who didn’t particularly like each other and created divisions among them. As if that wasn’t enough, they turned the inhabitants of these regions into slaves to mine out the country’s wealth for the benefit of whites. Once the nation’s people started clamoring for independence, the colonisers pretty much salted the earth, so to speak, and left the natives to pick up the pieces.This is why you have instability and genocide in these countries, not because Africans have lower IQ’s. It is because, sadly, when they elect politicians to lead their country, the politicians don’t do much to move the country forward, but do just enough just to fill their pockets.

        White people amaze me with this attitude that they hold the monopoly on civilised societies. Is it civilised to ship and trade humans like cattle? Is it civilised plunder the natural resources of a continent and rape and enslave its people? Is it civilised to wage war, commit genocide and drug a whole population? Sure, it creates prosperity, but is it civilised? If you want to look to a prosperous, “civilised” white society, you can look at countries in Western Europe, but those countries have been politically stable for only about 60 years. Look at countries like Italy and Greece. What about countries like the Ukraine, Poland and Romania? Those are white countries that are not known for prosperity or for political stability. Whites are quick to pick out African and black countries that are not prosperous, but never talk about countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon and others that enjoy relative stability and economic prosperity.

        • Wichiti

          It IS a matter of happiness, because Black people can be more satisfied with themselves if they accepted their limitations.

          It is entirely a matter of Black perspective. Accepting limitations is healthy for anyone in our present culture of narcissism & excess. To be happy, people have to want less – the ancients knew this, buddha knew this.

          On the practical side, there are not enough White resources to artificially “raise up” all the Black people to White parity. That is without the millions of Mexicans about to be added to the equation. It isn’t like the country isn’t trillions in debt already.

          Bankruptcy for the US looms, and with it a change in political system. White people will yank democracy (as we know it) if they perceive that the democratic system is being gamed against them in a demographic sense, & they no longer have self-determination.

          Also, is not right for people to discriminate against you if that is what happened.

          And yes, Africa suffers from a major “brain drain” today, with African educated elites leaving to work elsewhere, when their own countries need them. Their countries should insist on a minimum period of local service after providing them with the tertiary education.

          • rainydaze80

            You’re still missing the point, but I’ll be brief this time. No one is asking for White resources to “artificially raise up” Blacks and Mexicans as you put it. It’s about providing an even playing field. The only limitations we have are people like you saying we can’t achieve this or that. You have no idea what it’s like for someone to just look at you and immediately assume a million stereotypes, often derogatory, about you before you open your mouth to speak. You would be amazed at what people can accomplish on their own when given a fair chance.

      • SMH

        Im sure you love to believe that is a fact but it just proves how delusional you truly are. Whites came to Africa and pretty much every other country in the world, stole ideas, people, gold, diamonds (amongst other things) and labeled them their own. If anything, it just proves that creativity is a challenge, and that you are the true thieves and remain unoriginal.

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    as one white guy told me, it took other white people mistakenly assuming he was black based on his name alone before he realized that there was some issues with how things were handle between races in America. It might just take a white person to wake up the rest of white america who remain clueless. . .

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.banks.37 Courtney Banks

      It’s sad how when a black person says something, we’re accused of pulling the race card, or we need to get over slavery. etc.. but the minute the same information comes out the mouth of a white person, it’s suddenly revered as gospel.. smh

      • Ms_Sunshine9898

        that’s things in general, you more likely to believe people you relate to compared to other people

      • kierah

        That’s how it has always been. The Civil Rights Movement didn’t really see change on a national level until young White American Freedom Riders were getting attacked and killed. People don’t move until the fire reaches their door.

Get the MadameNoire
Newsletter
The best stories sent right to your inbox!
close [x]