Students at the prestigious Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, are participating a workshop to help them “deconstruct whiteness.”
The six-part workshop, which is only open to students who “self-identify” as white, is designed to help students understand what concepts like “whiteness” and “white guilt” actually mean. “Whiteness” is defined by the University of Calgary as “a dominant cultural space with enormous political significance, with the purpose to keep others on the margin.”
“White people are not required to explain to others how ‘white’ culture works, because ‘white’ culture is the dominant culture that sets the norms,” the definition continues. “Everybody else is then compared to that norm… In times of perceived threat, the normative group may well attempt to reassert its normativity by asserting elements of its cultural practice more explicitly and exclusively.” ”
Several members of the Northwestern community are embracing the program with open arms. “There’s a lot of space on this campus for conversations to happen around issues of privilege and specifically around issues of white privilege,” said Michele Enos, assistant director of Northwestern’s Social Justice Education office.
Northwestern spokesperson Bob Rowley told The College Fix that the “Deconstructing Whiteness” workshop is a part of the university’s efforts to bring learning opportunities to its students. “It’s part of Northwestern’s Social Justice Education effort to create learning opportunities for our students,” Rowley said.
A poster for the event lists hypothetical questions that interested students might ask themselves. “Why do I feel guilty about being white?” one reads. “How do I talk about race as a white person?” reads another.
In October 2016, Breitbart News reported that Northwestern announced that they would quadruple safe spaces for black students after complaints were filed with the administration. In May 2017, Breitbart News reported that Northwestern students who interrupted a guest speaker event featuring an ICE official would be disciplined by the university.
Northwestern University’s full-time undergraduate tuition is more than $52,000 a year.