Trunk, I finally read the Washington Post story about “whiteness studies” that you posted yesterday. My reaction? Well, Thomas Jefferson was a clever fellow. I suppose it’s possible that he invented the white race, in advance of inventing majority rule, so he would have a majority to belong to. But, while Jefferson may have invented “whiteness,” those who invent these courses are doing their best to keep it alive. For 1960s film buffs, the courses seem to come straight out of the Brian De Palma flick Hi Mom, starring a young Robert De Niro and featuring the “be black” experience.
Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I think these kinds of courses may come back to haunt their creators. It seems likely to me that bright college students will regard these classes as hopelessly lame, and that other students will eventually come around to that view, turning the courses into laughingstocks. If I’m wrong and the courses have their intended effect, then our point of view will have lost out in the campus market place of ideas (real life is another matter). That’s something we will have to accept, provided that our point of view is also getting a hearing on campus.
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