New class must be balanced
Across the country, a new field of study is slowly being introduced into universities. This new field studies whiteness, or the social and racial roles and identity of white people. While concerns have been raised about the new field nationwide, it has found its way onto approximately 30 U.S. campuses and it's coming to AU next semester.
The class, White Privilege and Social Justice, will examine the roles of white people in American society and their interaction with other races. The class is still open. While the class will illuminate a new and interesting concept, we have some concerns about it. First, the professor must maintain a balanced and objective curriculum that incorporates many views on the role of the white majority in our society. Hopefully the class will not take a pro or anti-white tilt, but rather present the white race from majority and minority views. If the professor can accomplish this task, more students (minority and majority) will benefit from it.
Second, most AU students (most of us are white) have had an educational background that is primarily influenced by white authors, white culture and white historical figures. Although AU courses on American politics, history, literature and culture often deal primarily with white people, most do not consider the implications of the powerful influence of the white majority. Yet while the new class may elucidate the superstructure of the white majority, most of us are already well-versed in its elements. Other courses here have focused on traditionally oppressed minorities - Jewish studies, courses on African-American literature, etc. - that are not always understood, accepted or examined by the majority of the U.S. population. A course on the white majority and its perspective may be valuable to concentrate on and deconstruct traditional ideas and policies, but many of those ideas and policies are often - and sometimes painfully - self-evident.
This cutting-edge class is a non-recurring special topic class, and we are very interested in how it is received by students next semester. If the professor can bring a range of material to class and teach in an objective manner -neither pro-white nor anti-white - then the class will be interesting and will not run counter to AU's goals of tolerance and diversity. We only hope the course will take a hard look at the white majority without exacerbating fragile racial tensions.