PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Community College is taking a courageous step this April with the launch of “Whiteness History Month: Context, Consequences and Change,” a multidisciplinary, college-wide academic endeavor. Through dialogue and discussion by way of events, lectures, exhibits and more, the project seeks to inspire innovative and practical solutions to community issues and social problems caused by systemic constructs that contribute to racism. The goal is to create an arena for a rich and respectful exchange of ideas about complex issues.
“The college views this project as part of a larger national conversation around race and social justice on America’s college campuses,” said Sylvia Kelley, interim president of PCC.
“As Oregon’s largest post-secondary educational institution, we have a responsibility to ensure that PCC is as welcoming, equitable and inclusive as possible – for all we serve. This commitment is reflected in the college’s strategic plan, which asks us to take intentional action to advance diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Whiteness History Month is an example of how we’re taking this charge seriously,” Kelley said.
The project is a collaborative grassroots project organized by a diverse group of dedicated PCC faculty, staff and students. The program addresses the topic of "whiteness," an academic term commonly used to describe the social and political construction of white identity related to beliefs, cultural norms and privileges. The concept of whiteness has been referenced by a broad range of scholars and has been a focus of research, teaching and scholarship since the early 1990s.
Nearly 100 events are planned as part of PCC’s Whiteness History Month, at its Cascade, Rock Creek, Southeast and Sylvania campuses. Events are free and open to the public; hourly parking costs between $2 and $5.
For more information about the program and a complete calendar of activities, visit: http://www.pcc.edu/whm.