A new class at Florida Gulf Coast University is generating some controversy. Its name? “White Racism.”
The spring 2018 course is already at capacity with 50 students signed up. It will integrate the concept of race and examine the ideologies, laws, policies and practices that have “operated for hundreds of years to maintain white racial domination over those racialized as non-white,” according to a course description.
The description also says the course will discuss ways to challenge white supremacy “toward promoting an anti-racist society where whiteness is not tied to greater life chances.”
The controversy surrounding the course isn’t really its substance, but more about its name, reported The News-Press. At least one flier about the class was defaced, the outlet said.
Ted Thornhill, an assistant sociology professor, will instruct the class. He has been teaching courses on racism and racial inequality for nearly a decade.
FGCU College Republicans treasurer Alex Pilkington told the News-Press he talked to Thornhill about the course’s title after a campus panel discussion on racism, and said while Thornhill did a good job justifying the name, he still finds it troublesome.
"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," Pilkington, 22, told the news outlet.
Thornhill said one of the reasons why he chose to teach a “White Racism” course at the school is because students have told him they want more options for classes on race and racism. He went on to say the new class will included the classifications of individuals based on race and the privileges that come along with being at the top of that list.