White students create 'deconstructing whiteness' club at Pomona
White students at Pomona College have launched a new student group dedicated to “owning our racism” and “deconstructing our whiteness.”
The organization—which calls itself “We’ve Got Work To Do: White People for Deconstructing Whiteness”—held its inaugural gathering Tuesday evening on Pomona’s campus, though students from all five schools in the Claremont College consortium are welcome to join.
“How is what we are doing problematic/possibly harmful? Can it be healing/helpful?”
“This is a group for White people at the 5C's to work on owning our racism, deconstructing our Whiteness, and to engage in movement & action toward dismantling White Supremacy,” the organization explains on its Facebook page.
"Recognizing that White identity is a self-fashioned, hierarchical fantasy, Whites should attempt to dismantle Whiteness as it currently exists,” the description adds, drawing from a selection in the book Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge. “Whites should renounce their privileged racial character, though not simply out of guilt or any sense of self-deprecation. Rather, they should dismantle the edifice of Whiteness because this mythological construct stands at the vortex of racial inequality in America.”
In anticipation of the kickoff event, which was simply titled “FIRST GATHERING,” organizers urged supporters to “bring as much of your full, compassionate self as you can and maybe a friend that wants to work around/through/with/deconstructing their whiteness!”
One group member also published a meeting agenda prior to the event, detailing a 90-minute program featuring a “White Supremacy Culture reading” and multiple discussion periods.
The meeting was set to begin with a round of introductions, during which participants state not only their names and preferred pronouns, but also to share an example of “how [they] have been racist or microaggressive recently.”
Also on the agenda was a reading on “White Supremacy Culture,” a link to which was uploaded on the Event Page before the event began.
The reading “lists characteristics of white supremacy culture” such as “perfectionism” and “worship of the written word,” and suggests that these characteristics are barriers for “a truly multicultural organization.”
The event concluded with a discussion of what “deconstructing whiteness” really means, which even included prompts exploring whether the student group’s approach is even appropriate.
“What are the consequences of creating another predominantly white space?” one prompt asks. “How is what we are doing problematic/possibly harmful? Can it be healing/helpful?”
According to the event page, only 9 people had given an affirmative RSVP for the discussion in the 4 hours leading up to it, but event organizers did not respond queries from Campus Reform concerning the actual turnout or content of the discussions.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen