#WhitenessHistoryMonth | 2017
Tracing the history of white power and privilege in the United States, and how it is relevant today.
It’s time to learn our own history, white people. For real.
This month of created content follows #BlackHistoryMonth with a sardonic reference to the sad refrain that often crops up in white people circles during February; the pathetic query — “but, but…what about a white history month?”
#WhitenessHistoryMonth recognizes that all “regular,” normed history is already “white history” — so this project seeks to look at a real history of what it means to be white in this country.
We’ll be picking up were it left off last year, chronicling the path of white power and privilege in our country.
#BlackHistoryMonth tells the necessary (and oft-ignored/discarded/whitewashed) story of African Americans in this country. #WhitenessHistoryMonth shifts the attention to white people — just not in the same way. This isn’t “celebrating” white history.
This is recognizing and owning up to the damaging and violent history of whiteness.
Whiteness, as it is often defined, is characterized by white privilege and power that has ensured and codified white supremacy from before the brutal founding of these United States of America.
As DeRay Mckesson often observes, “watch whiteness work.”
When we see how the murderer in the #CharlestonMassacre was treated by police, as opposed to innocent child Tamir Race, we see whiteness.
When we see how our current president is forgiven an utter lack of experience, decency, common sense, and any sense of morality — while former president Barack Obama was held to the highest (im)possible standards, we see whiteness.
When we see white killers explained away as “mentally ill loners,” but any act by someone of color automatically representing their entire ethnicity while damning their communities, we see whiteness.
And once you see whiteness, you can’t unsee it. This is the purpose of #WhitenessHistoryMonth. We need to teach it — especially to fellow white people.
We will look at both the obviously racist — as well as the subtly racist — recognizing that whiteness is deeply ingrained in the U.S. psyche.
This year, one of the main resources is Ibram Kendi’s landmark (and National Book Award-winning) Stamped from the Beginning.
“The inequality of the white and black races [was] stamped from the beginning.”
— Senator (and future president of the Confederacy) Jefferson Davis, 1860, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, objecting to a bill funding the education of black people in Washington, D.C.
#WhitenessHistoryMonth is about tracing demonic ideas like this, so that we can work to dismantle them — once and for all.