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ABOUT OUR NAME

Early on several people advised us that we should consider changing our name because to many it invokes images of white supremacy. Our feeling was, and continues to be, that our name is part of our work. We are a "center" (i.e. an organization) that studies a specific phenomenon (i.e. white American culture). There is nothing in our name that says we are white supremacist. The perception of white supremacy is one that rests in the broader white United States culture itself.

This is because white American culture only teaches people two models of how to be white. The first model is, in fact, white supremacy. Some white people explicitly follow this model. Most do not. Most consider it outdated, inappropriate and embarrassing—not something to be consciously chosen. We agree with that.

The second model white American culture offers for being white is that we should all be colorblind. In essence, this is saying we should not be conscious of white identity and those of us who are of European American heritage should not claim a white identity for ourselves. Colorblindness is the dominant model in white American culture and the colorblind model teaches that any person who explicitly identifies as white is a white supremacist. When we use the term “white American culture” in our name, the colorblind model characterizes that act itself as white supremacist and racist.

We believe that people can be conscious of being white, and use this consciousness as a basis for pursuing anti-racist goals, working for racial equality and equity, standing for racial justice, and actively developing multiracial community. In fact, unless people are willing to examine white American culture along with its attending privileges and the fact that it is the dominant culture in the United States, we believe little progress can be made in achieving racial equity and building true multiracial community.

Our name is part of that work.

See also: White kind of white person are you? Editorial from www.euroamerican.org (old site), 1999.


Copyright ©2001, 2009. Center for the Study of White American Culture, Inc. All rights reserved.