The University of Wisconsin-Madison will be hosting a class titled “African 405: The Problem of Whiteness” for its Spring 2018 semester despite GOP lawmakers’ calls to have the class struck from the syllabus.
What is the class about?
The class, which is a part of the African Cultural Studies program, promises to help students “understand how whiteness is socially constructed and experienced in order to help dismantle white supremacy” and also examines how whites “consciously and unconsciously perpetuate institutional racism and how this not only devastates communities of color but also perpetuates the oppression of most white folks along the lines of class and gender.”
Other aims of the course include defining what it means to be “woke,” as well as examine what an “ethical white identity” entails.
A spokesperson for the University of Wisconsin-Madison told The College Fix via email that students have responded well to the course, which was introduced in Spring 2017.
“Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive — students said they found it valuable to examine majority cultures and how power imbalances are created, sustained, and challenged in societies around the world,” the spokesperson wrote.
What have others in the past said about this course?
While student feedback may have been “overwhelmingly positive,” some GOP lawmakers in 2016 called for the class to be canceled before it even began.
Wisconsin state Rep. Dave Murphy (R) was one of those lawmakers unhappy with the class.
Murphy in 2016 wrote, “I am extremely concerned that UW-Madison finds it appropriate to teach a course called, ‘The Problem of Whiteness,’ with the premise that white people are racist.”
Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2016 noted that the class’ premise was “goofy.”
According to WEAU-TV, Walker said that “the better area to focus on with funding is the broader issue of accountability and performance,” but did not outright condemn the course, stating that he does not think the “governor should be telling people what classes they should or shouldn’t have.”