ABOUT OUR NAME
Since our founding several people have advised us that we should change our name because, to many, it invokes images of white supremacy. Our feeling has always been that our name is part of our work. We are a "center" (an organization) that studies a specific phenomenon (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 Most consider it outdated, inappropriate and embarrassing — not something to be consciously chosen.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. Colorblindness doesn't know any better.
We believe that people can be conscious of being white, and use this consciousness as a basis for pursuing anti-racist goals, for working on racial equality and equity, for supporting racial justice, and for 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 our work.