United States society is centered upon white American culture. White cultural norms are the standard by which all are judged, and white cultural practices control access to power and resources. This reflects a historic legacy of white supremacy that carries into our present day. In a multiracial nation such as the United States, a society centered on whiteness is inherently unfair. Many have reacted to that unfairness by working for racial justice and equity. These efforts have called whiteness into question but left much to be done.
This workshop offers a strategic model developed by CSWAC on how the racial structure of our society might be changed in a way that is fair and equitable to all. We call the model Decentering Whiteness and Building Multiracial Community. In brief, we believe our society should be centered on a multiracial culture and white culture needs to be moved from its central position, or decentered.
Although simple in the broadest sense, the Decentering Whiteness and Building Multiracial Community model has some implications that are not immediately obvious. This workshop will compare and contrast other approaches to changing racial structure and then look at some of the implications of CSWAC’s model. We’ll look at both decentering whiteness and building multiracial community as goals, and why one goal cannot be met without the other. In the process, we’ll discuss how each goal might be accomplished.
Topics Addressed in the Workshop
- basic concepts important to a multiracial perspective
- centered and decentered whiteness
- features of whiteness as centered
- decentering these same features of whiteness
- problems of monoracism
- envisioning a multiracial community
- how to begin building multiracial community
- requirements for multiracial community building