‘Problem With Whiteness’ Class Offered At Arizona State University

“Problem with Whiteness” is now a course offered by the Arizona State University. The college course is offered through the university’s English department this semester. The class will reportedly explore “critical race theory” and the problem of whiteness in American culture and literature.

The Problem with Whiteness course at the Arizona State University began on January 12, with 20 students enrolled in the class.

Lee Bebout, Arizona State University professor teaching the 'Problem with Whiteness' course.

Arizona State University Assistant Professor Lee BeBout, who is white, is teaching the Problem with Whiteness course. A vague description of the critical race theory class, as noted on the Arizona university’s website, says the class will address, “Major critical schools of recent decades, postcolonialist, psychoanalytic, deconstructionist, feminist, new historicist.”

Required reading for the Problem with Whiteness course includes Critical Race Theory, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness, Everyday Language of White Racism, The Alchemy of Race and Rights, and Playing in the Dark.

“I think it shows the significant double standard of higher education institutions,” junior economics major James Malone said during an interview with Campus Reform. “They would never allow a class talking about the problem of ‘blackness.’ And if they did, there would be an uproar about it. But you can certainly harass people for their apparent whiteness.”


The Problem with Whiteness syllabus is not currently available online.

Here’s an excerpt from The Possessive Investment in Whiteness description on Amazon.

“Attacking the common view that whiteness is a meaningless category of identity, Lipsitz shows that public policy and private prejudice insure that whites wind up on top of the social hierarchy. Passionately and clearly written, this wide-ranging book probes into the social and material rewards that accrue to “the possessive investment in whiteness.” Lipsitz sums up the ways that public policy has virtually excluded communities of color from everything that American society defines as desirable: first-rate education, decent housing, asset accumulation, political power, social status, satisfying work, and even the power to shape and narrate their own history. White supremacy is no thing of the past, no fringe movement. It is a pervasive and pernicious system that restricts the political and cultural agency of African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latinos every day. Unearned and unacknowledged, race-based advantages, not greater merit or a superior work ethic, account for white privilege.”

[Images via: Arizona State University and the ASU Foundation]