“Unpacking Whiteness”: The University of South Carolina’s Newest Class


Friday, November 15, 2019

The University of South Carolina is the most recent institution to include a racially controversial course in its offerings. This semester a new course titled “Unpacking Whiteness” debuted.

According to the class syllabus, “The purpose of this course is to critically interrogate whiteness.” The syllabus documents how students will accomplish the goal of the class by answering questions like, “What is whiteness? Who is white? What does it mean to be white? When did white become a category of thought? Why is whiteness invisible to many white people?” just to name a few. 

The class’s required readings are quite problematic. They include: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America, and Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era.

Largely based on pseudo-science, these readings plant racially divisive ideas in the minds of students under the guise that they are widely accepted and scientifically proven facts. This is the opposite manner in which academic study should be conducted. 

Some of the daily discussion topics listed on the schedule include: Legal Construction of Whiteness, White Fragility, Color-blind Racism, Extremism and the Right, Denouncing Whiteness, and more. The associated readings don’t come from peer-reviewed textbooks—they’re editorial and opinionated books espousing radical views on race, specifically about the white race. Opinions aren’t meant to double as textbooks, to be studied and accepted. 

The inclusion of this course at USC is deeply troubling. It manifests further racial division disguised as understanding and intellectual exploration. If these readings were to be questioned, or balanced with an opposing reading, it would offer students room to think and develop an opinion after being presented multiple views. Alas, there is no other side presented—only opinions presented as facts. In the end, those who suffer as a result of this nonsense are the students, who are taught by trusted educators that fiction is fact. 

USC isn’t the first college to offer this kind of course. University of North Carolina-Charlotte plans to host numerous “White Consciousness Conversations” this semester after having similar events last year. According to reports, the events are meant to be “a space for white students to assist in their understanding of whiteness.”

Many other institutions are offering these events designed to target “whiteness.” California State University-San Marcos offers both “Seminar on White Privilege” and “The Communication of Whiteness.” The University of Iowa was set to hold a “whiteness” workshop last year that was ultimately cancelled due to concerns from lawmakers, and the University of Notre Dame held a “Confronting Whiteness” event earlier this year. 

This kind of unfounded rhetoric is extremely dishonest in how its being presented. Perhaps if it were explored in the manner real philosophy is, in a course titled ‘discussion of race in America,’ students would have an opportunity to debate these ideas surrounding race without having unconfirmed ideas passed as fact by their educators. 

Our education is very important to us. We value a highly educated populace. It is not acceptable to allow untested pseudo-science to be taught to our children as consensus or fact. We are doing our future generations a disservice by allowing a class like ‘Unpacking Whiteness’ to be taught. 

Julia is a senior at The University of South Carolina studying political science and journalism. In addition to writing for Lone Conservative, she is also a student reporter for The College Fix.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Julia Johnson

Julia is a senior at The University of South Carolina studying political science and journalism. In addition to writing for Lone Conservative, she is also a student reporter for The College Fix.

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