LONG BEACH PRESS-TELEGRAM
Thursday, March 22, 2001 Section: LIVE! Edition: AM
Page: C3 Column: Web Watch
SOME INTERESTING DISCOVERIES ABOUT WHITE
BY David Ross
It's only on the rare occasion that this fact enters my consciousness.
Once, while I was doing volunteer work in Kenya, I sat down to eat at a
restaurant and realized I was the only white in the building. And every
once in awhile during a gathering of my large, loving Filipino in-laws
I'll glance around and realize I'm the only white guy in the room.
The time when I most realize it, though, is when some nut goes on a
rampage in a school. The killers have all been white. But the FBI, it
seems, is unable to create a profile of the typical school shooter.
A writer named Tim Wise posted an article called ``School Shootings and
White Denial'' to the AlterNet (www.AlterNet.org) in early March. It's
thoughtful, profane piece in which he reacts in shock to the lack of
knowledge whites have about their own racial/cultural tendencies.
Wise laments the tendency to violence and substance abuse among white
teen-agers, citing an array of government-produced statistics that are
truly shocking. His point? White America needs to realize that the malaise
that strikes urban, nonwhite kids is creeping into the suburbs. The
suburbs are better armed.
Wise has received more than 3,000 e-mails from this article, most of which
are from blacks, Hispanics and Asians who laud him for looking objectively
I decided to do a search on Google (www.google.com) to see if I could find
any more studies/think pieces on ``whiteness.'' I thought of phrasing my
query in a way to restrict hits for white supremacist groups but then I
changed my mind. I decided to let the computer define ``whiteness.''
Amazingly, I scored on my first hit. Gregory Jay, a professor in the
English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has written
series of articles on whiteness and even created a course outline for
teaching the topic (www.uwm.edu/~gjay/whiteness/whitenesstalk.html). The
questions he posts would foment amazing discussions in middle and high
school or at the college level.
His most important piece, a 1998 reflection on Martin Luther King Day,
titled ``Who Invented White People?'' He provides readers with details
the origin of ``white'' culture, harking back to its roots in Eastern and
Southern Europe. The piece has a pedantic tone but it sure makes a fella
I left Jay's site for another, called the Center for Study of
White-American Culture (www.euroamerican.org). The Web-masters here seem
to have been asleep for a couple of years and missed a few design
seminars. However, buried amid the links to a library, conferences and
publications is a link to, well, links. I found a gob of stuff about
multicultural education and the role of the white student, educator and
administrator in that process.
The first essay that caught my eye was written by Gary Howard. It's called
``Whites in Multicultural Education,'' and should be a must-read for the
education crowd in California, where white children are no longer a
majority in the schools. I also enjoyed Kathie Dobie's article called
``The Unbearable Whiteness of Being,'' which was originally posted a
couple of years ago on Salon.com. It's a powerful statement on the who
the why of school shootings.
There are, of course, a slew of sites about race traitors. The most
prominent of these is cleverly called Race Traitor
(www.postfun.com/racetraitor). The articles on these sites tend to be so
bizarre that I have difficulty telling if the authors are kidding or
serious. Enter them at your own risk.
This is why I love the Internet. The traditional media, of which I've been
a part for more than 20 years, won't get near this topic, but my students
will. They're going to be reading these essays and talking about this
problem in our round-table groups.
You can write to David
Ross in care of Live!, PressTelegram, P.O. Box 230,
Long Beach CA 90844,
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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