- The University of Wisconsin-Madison released a statement to reassure the public that “The Problem of Whiteness” class was not intended to be offensive.
- The course, which aims to explore “what it really means to be white,” is optional, but fulfills the school’s ethnic studies graduation requirement.
The statement, released Monday, defends the African Cultural Studies 405 course “The Problem of Whiteness,” explaining that “the course title refers to the challenge of understanding white identity and non-white identity across the globe,” and the class is “not designed to offend individuals or single out an ethnic group.”
“We believe this course, which is one of thousands offered at our university, will benefit students who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of race issues,” UW contends. “The course is a challenge and response to racism of all kinds.”
Although the class fulfills the university’s ethnic studies requirement for graduation, UW explains that “all of the students participating do so voluntarily; the course is not required.”
In an online overview of the course, the objectives include teaching students “what it really means to be white” and aims to “understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy.”
The course description also claims that in class “we will ask what an ethical white identity entails” and “what it means to be #woke.”
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