Racism 101: Why We Need Courses on “Whiteness”


While The New York Times reports on action by the University of Oklahoma, kicking out Sigma Alpha Epsilon for a racist chant, a Daily Kos blogger argues that the chant has roots elsewhere, that there’s a pervasive though hidden racism throughout the fraternity and, by implication, elsewhere. No, not by implication. The blogger reproduces pictures of lynchings to back up his point. After all, the version of the chant used in Oklahoma does mention hanging “n****rs” from a tree.

I recently wrote about (here and here) the furor over Lee Bebout’s course, English 401, “U.S. Race Theory & the Problem of Whiteness” at Arizona State University. Someone left a comment, asking (rhetorically) if I didn’t find the course “defamatory and stereotypical.” No. After the University of Oklahoma incident, I’m beginning to think it necessary.

In a follow-up comment, that “someone” called me “a self-hating ethnophobe.” I trashed the comment–it has…

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