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White people need to ‘work’ on their ‘whiteness’: sociologist

‘How can white people engage in efforts to dismantle racism in ways that do not reproduce or place unfair burdens upon people of color to be our teachers?’ professor asks

White people need to acknowledge their faults and fix their “whiteness,” according to an Oregon sociologist.

Professor Emily Drew will host a “conversation” in February “for white people to reflect together on what it means to ‘do our work’ as white people,” according to an announcement.

The Willamette University professor’s presentation at a local library is titled “Working on Our Whiteness.”

Participants will be asked to consider the following questions:

How can we who are white show up as more effective and less damaging participants in struggles to interrupt racism in our community? How can white people engage in efforts to dismantle racism in ways that do not reproduce or place unfair burdens upon people of color to be our teachers?

The “work” that white people must focus on “includes taking responsibility for one another, educating ourselves, and coming to view other white people as our partners—not competition—in developing antiracist identity.”

Drew also teaches ethnic studies at Willamette. “She gives presentations at universities and community-based organizations on the subjects of white privilege, gentrification, fair housing, reparations and affirmative action,” according to her bio. “In all of these capacities, she is an organizer and strategic planner, helping institutions develop and implement long term commitments to anti-racist, multicultural diversity.”

Drew is a regular speaker on how white people need to become better people. For example, she gave a talk at another Oregon library in 2018 titled “Challenging Our Inner Becky: Interventions of White Women-ness in Our Community.” “Becky,” like the name “Karen,” is used as a stereotype against an overbearing or annoying white woman.

“My hope was to attract people who already knew racism was a problem, probably had a critique of the kinds of people who do racism,” Drew told a local newspaper. She wanted white people to “turn the mirror on ourselves and look at how does that same stuff live in us?”

Drew gave a presentation in June 2022 on “Working on our Whiteness” with the same topics planned for the February session.

MORE: UChicago offers ‘problem of whiteness’ course

IMAGE: Willamette University with College Fix edits

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.