A mural that reads “Dismantle Whiteness and Misogyny on This Campus" recently was installed outside the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism building at the University of Southern California — a move "intended to spark dialogue," one professor told the College Fix.
"The signage is meant to offer grounding of terms and ideas," communications professor Alison Trope said in a statement to the outlet. "There is no expectation that everyone agree with the statement offered by the artists, but hopefully viewers can acknowledge the experience of peers on campus around these issues.”
The "Dismantle Whiteness" mural was installed with other pieces from the When Women Disrupt art collective in collaboration with students from the USC Annenberg class “Women: Designing Media for Social Change" to address issues surrounding "race, intersectionality and misogyny," according to the Facebook page of When Women Disrupt.
The term "whiteness,” the group said, "refers to an organizing principle that shapes institutions, policies and social relations."
An informational flyer near the display adds another "whiteness" definition, the College Fix said, noting that it is “distinct from being white" and "refers to an unmarked and unnamed place of advantage, privilege or domination; a lens through which white people tend to see themselves and others ..."
Was the spot for the art pieces' installation good enough for some students?
Some students told the Daily Trojan that the art pieces should have been installed in a more public area of campus.
“It wasn’t disruptive enough in my environment,” senior communication major Claire Porter told the paper. “It’s placed in a very hidden area of campus where it’s not usually seen and I think that speaks to the administration and how they want to frame and direct the conversation and the impact — the fact that it is inward-facing not outward facing — all of these factors are intentional from the administration and I think this project would have been much more powerful if the artists were given more freedom.”
The art pieces were installed at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism because placing them at the more highly traversed Watt Way was denied at the last minute, Trope told the paper.
“It’s not going to get the same kind of viewership that it would if it was on Watt Way,” Trope added to the Daily Trojan. “It’s disappointing to me because I think it could have had a great impact on our community in terms of spurring dialogue and conversation about race and gender and campus climate.”