A "white racism" course offered by a Florida college has stirred controversy on the campus, but some say the debate is mostly over the name than what will be being taught.
"White Racism" at Florida Gulf Coast University was the idea of assistant sociology professor Ted Thornhill and will cover ways to challenge white supremacy and ideologies, laws, policies, and practices that allowed "white racial domination over those racialized as non-white," the Fort Myers News-Press reported, citing the course description.
Thornhill, who has taught courses on race, racism, white supremacy, and racial inequality for almost 10 years, told the News-Press that he started the course because students asked him about having more classes on race and racism. The class starts in January.
Alex Pilkington, a student and treasurer of the university's College Republicans, told the News-Press that the name was problematic.
"I would have preferred a name more like 'Systemic Racism' because giving it 'White Racism' as the name of the class I feel like it's intentional that you are trying to make white people look at the class a certain way," said Pilkington, 22, an accounting major.
Earlier this month, the course was the topic of discussion at a forum on campus called, "Race, Immigration and White Supremacy in the Post-Obama Era," WPTV reported.
"I thought the name was a little dramatic," student Jamar Arrindell told the television station. "It's been a growing topic of conversation."
The class was expanded from 35 to 50 students and is now at capacity for the spring semester, WPTV said.
Thornhill defended the course and its title to The Blaze, saying the subject has been studied, researched, and taught for years.
"My White Racism course is not anti-white; it is anti-white racism," Thornhill told The Blaze. "Clearly, not all white people are racists; some are even anti-racist. However, all people racialized as white derive, in some measure, material and psychological benefits by virtue of being racialized as white.”
"Courses such as mine have been taught throughout the country and across disciplines for decades. A course with this very title has been regularly taught at the University of Connecticut for the past 22 years," he said.
Last fall, a demonstration with students and faculty took place on campus after a stick figure hanging from tree, along with a racial slur, was drawn on a classroom white board, sparking racial tension, WTVJ reported.
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