The University of Southern California has installed a provocative exhibit titled “Dismantle Whiteness and Misogyny on Campus” in an apparent effort to combat “racism, sexism and xenophobia.”
The Annenberg Institute for Diversity and Empowerment (IDEA) commissioned the project, and worked together with the feminist artist collective “When Women Disrupt” and students from the class “Women: Designing Media for Social Change” to produce the controversial mural, which depicts large drawings of four women of color along with the title of the exhibit blazoned above the doorway.
The exhibit has been installed at an entrance to the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism building, according to the ever-vigilant student journalists at The College Fix.
IDEA says that it seeks to generate “conversation about the institutionalized and everyday systems of power and representation that reinforce racism, patriarchy, and inequity.”
The Institute’s faculty co-director Alison Trope said that the installation “is intended to spark dialogue” and there is “no expectation that everyone agree with the statement offered by the artists.”
It is noteworthy, however, that USC has no parallel exhibit suggesting that “blackness” be dismantled as a way of “sparking dialogue.” It is unlikely, in fact, that such an exhibit would even be permitted on campus, which would suggest a mentality that racism against blacks is wrong but when directed at whites it is somehow acceptable.
In praise of the exhibit, Trope said that the work has already prompted “many generative conversations” with participation by “those who align with the sentiments and those who do not.”
The website for the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism offers a brief lexicon of the keywords needed to appreciate the exhibit in all its depth.
The whiteness that needs dismantling is not just a person’s color but everything that goes with it, from their “unmarked and unnamed place of advantage, privilege or domination” that comes from being white, to “a lens through which white people tend to see themselves and others,” or even “an organizing principle that shapes institutions, policies, and social relations.”
Patriarchy, on the other hand, is a “political-social system in which males hold a disproportionately large share of power.” Such a system “insists males are inherently superior and endowed with the right to dominate and rule” while maintaining male dominance “through various forms of physical and psychological violence,” the website states.
Most damning of all, “everyone is implicated” in Patriarchy, the site declares.
In March, Breitbart News reported that school administrators in British Columbia had hung a series of white-shaming posters on school walls, in a similar effort to educate students on the evils of “white privilege.”
The posters carried messages encouraging students to “confront racism” and to not “be blind to the invisible system I am a part of.”
Caucasian people, the campaign suggested, even if not racists themselves, still benefit from “white privilege,” and therefore need to make reparation for the inherent injustice of race.
“I have unfairly benefited from the colour of my skin,” declared Superintendent of Schools Teresa Downs in one poster. “White privilege is not acceptable.”
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