Portland community college launches ‘Whiteness History Month’

On Friday, "Whiteness History Month" launched at all the campuses at Portland College.

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On Friday, “Whiteness History Month” launched at all the campuses at Portland College.

The month, according to a video posted to the school’s Facebook page, is meant to draw attention to whiteness, which the video defines as “a word used to describe the process that created racists and perpetuates racism.”

“This is not about shaming white people. It’s really about providing a better understanding for all of us,” said Craig Kolins, dean of instruction at PCC’s Southeast Portland campus.”This is an opportunity to dialogue about some of the tensions … created because of the societal pressure of whiteness.”

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The students feel that the idea behind the month is a good one but that it has been poorly explained and named.

“I think what they were trying to do was a good idea,” said William Haley, a PCC freshman. “There’s a lot of people out there who, rightly, have to acknowledge the fact that white people, white males like me who’ve come from an upper-middle class family are gonna not have had to deal with certain things.”

But Haley and his friend, Abdul Ahmed, who is African-America, feel the event is not well-named.

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“You don’t want to call it Whiteness History Month,” Ahmed said. “You just make it seem like it’s all about white people.”

“I just think that they did a bad job sending out a message and they could’ve done better,” said Haley.