Encouraging people to do the absolute best they can and rewarding them based on that performance is a conspiracy of “white culture,” according to a course at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.
According to Campus Reform, the “Witnessing Whiteness” course helps students to focus on pressing issues like “dominant white culture” and “culture and appropriation.” Students actually receive three graduate academic credits for implementing the lessons in their communities.
According to Shelly Tochluk, the program’s creator, this pervasive, insidious white culture can be recognized by the following traits: “individualism, consumerism, meritocracy as an ideal, superficiality, competition, ambition, productivity, [and] extreme exploitation of labor/resources for profit” — basically, every virtue that lifted Western civilization out of paganism, thanks to the Judeo-Christian ethos, none of which has anything to do with (in fact, negates) whiteness.
Since students who bring this subject up to members of their communities are rightly laughed off and sent packing back to their safe spaces, students are encouraged to prime people with questions like, “What does the dominant culture in the U.S. look like?” and “What feelings come up as you discuss this? Why?”
“This IS hard work, and we need to both acknowledge it AND plan for how we can stay focused and motivated in the face of resistance and distress,” the worksheet tells students.
Workshops like “Culture, Tradition, and Appropriation” teach students such important lessons as why statements like “my culture is American culture” are problematic because they assume “that everyone in the U.S. has or should experience similar cultural traditions” or “ignore how American culture is a product of many different cultures.”
The class is based on the book Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It, which was written by Shelly Tochluk.