Cal Poly course examines ‘why white was invented’

Students at California Polytechnic University can now fulfill certain core requirements by completing a course that examines the “social construction of whiteness.”

A course catalog for the school’s Ethnic Studies Department, where the class is taught, even notes that the 4-credit course fulfills “GE Area D5,” an abbreviation for Cal Poly’s “Society and the Individual” core area of study.

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According to the course description, students taking the course will investigate “the social construction of race in the United States through historicizing the category of ‘whiteness,’” while determining “why ‘white’ was invented as a racial category.”

Additionally, the course purports to teach students “how white privilege has been sustained through social, political, economic, and legal practices.”

Campus Reform asked Ethnic Studies Department chair, Denise Isom, to elaborate on that and other elements of the course, but did not receive a reply.

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Students enrolled in the course are encouraged to first complete a lower-level class in the Ethnic Studies Department called “Race, Culture, and Politics in the United States,” which studies “the ways that race and ethnicity are created by both historical processes and American institutional formation.”

Notably, the Ethnic Studies Department offers several “survey” courses on “Indigenous studies,” “Africana studies,” “Latino studies,” and “Asian American studies,” but only discusses “whiteness” in the context of its alleged social construction.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski