Why I Support Whiteness History Month by Kelli Fritsche

By Bridge Staff|March 20, 2016News, Opinions, Special Coverage: "Whiteness" History Month|

I can understand why some people are confused by the name and context around Whiteness History Month. However, the fact that there has been such a negative uproar towards the event only reinforced my absolute support of the ideas and reasons behind Whiteness History Month at PCC. There is a clear and obvious need for education and honest discussion around what it means to be a white American.

I have observed numerous verbal and written contradictions from white people as they declare “reverse racism” (which is untrue by definition: Racism equals power plus privilege; two traits not generally shared by non-white people in America), or retaliate with hateful slurs and racial epitaphs from fear of losing their advantage – while at the same time insisting that racism is over and white privilege does not exist. Many of those erupting in anger have minimal knowledge of the logic, circumstance, and need for this type of education, yet remain steadfast in their vitriol.

As a white woman, I have to ask, where is this fear stemming from? What do people truly think will be lost when non-white Americans are finally given the opportunity to buoy upwards to stand equally and inclusively with whites a mere 151 years after the end of slavery? A mere 62 years after the end of enforcing of Jim Crow law? A mere 53 years after the Civil Rights March on Washington?

To those members of my racial community – whether staff, faculty, students, family, friends, or neighbors – who are frightened or angered by the prospects of an equity-based country, I urge you to attend the events that will be presented at PCC during Whiteness History Month. Come to learn and challenge your assumptions; broaden your own perspective. Come to see for yourself that this is not about racial shaming or reproach. It is only through knowledge, education, empathy, interactive experiences, and shared stories that our community can cut away the paralyzing fear, eradicate the unproductive guilt, and disintegrate the untimely emotion that works to avoid addressing the all-too real topic of race. Let us take progressive steps forward to build an equitable, inclusive, and multiculturally talented institution/community/city/state/country/existence.

Ms. Fritsche is an employee of PCC.

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