Social Justice Education: 'Deconstructing Whiteness' at Northwestern University

The color of people's skin, rather than the content of their character, is all the rage!

And it continues: college campuses reversing the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. who hoped that one day, a person's character, not their skin color, would be the distinguishing factor for the human race. But step on campuses like Portland Community College or Northwestern University and be prepared for your skin color to be judged -- especially if you're white.

"Deconstructing Whiteness" is a new weekly workshop begun by Northwestern's Social Justice Education office. It's not just for white people, but anyone who "self-identif[ies] as white." It launched in late-January and the six-part course, held at the women's center, will run through March. It's a voluntary workshop… and students actually signed up.

Attendees are prompted with several rhetorical questions to ponder in preparation for the class:

What is my role in doing anti-racist work?

How can I talk about race as a white person?

Why do I have to feel guilty about being white?

What does it mean to be white?

The College Fix received an e-mail from a spokesman for the "prestigious private university" who would only give a brief description of the workshop's purpose: "It’s part of Northwestern’s Social Justice Education effort to create learning opportunities for our students. Beyond that, we don’t have anything more for you on it.”

Yet, Michele Enos, the assistant director for Northwestern's Social Justice Education office, was more vocal to a local paper:

There’s a lot of space on this campus for conversations to happen around issues of privilege and specifically around issues of white privilege.

There is another requirement besides being white: students must commit to attend every week and stay for the duration of the two-hour workshop -- that ensures maximum white-guilt efficiency, no doubt.