Do you try to avoid whiteness in your life? Based on the variety of newspaper headlines, it might be difficult to achieve this.
Check out a recent piece published in Physical Review Physics Education Research. The prestigious journal was founded in 1893. Its founder couldn't have guessed the research it would uncover though; according to a report published in the journal, dry erase boards are racist.
“Observing Whiteness in Introductory Physics: A Case Study” is a plan to end our scourge of paleness, however this seems to be an incredibly high order.
Here's an introduction by the authors Amy D. Robertson (Seattle Pacific University) and W. Tali Hairston (Equitable Development LLC):
In whiteness, the structure of social life is conceived in the terms of a center and margins built on control, dominance, and an omnipotent figure that is continuously and structurally placed over and above other forms of representation. … In naming whiteness, and offering an array of analytic indicators, our goal is to provide teachers and researchers with a means of finding whiteness within their own circumstances. … We hope our work can contribute in achieving Critical Whiteness studies' mission of removing whiteness.
In case you didn't realize, American society is KKK-ish:
Critical Race Theory names racism and white supremacy as pervasive to every aspect of U.S. society, from working, to education, to the legal system. We can see the consequences of these instances like the different rates of incarceration, the rate of disease and death during the age of COVID, as well as the brutality of police.
“We also see,” the authors say,” the outcomes of this in physics.”
Whiteness contaminates subject in many ways:
Energy Interaction Diagrams
Gendered Social The Norms
The Framework of Schooling
In the last example, check to see if you are able to identify the white supremacy:
Education systems create and sustain power relationships by teaching values and information (inculcation) that are in line with the dominant culture, and also by perpetuating the conditions in which the arbitrariness (as opposed to merit) of this dominance is under-recognized. They also create institutions that facilitate the work of education, so that the arbitrariness gets concealed in the policies and practices that are “the way things are” in schools. Also “the way things are” at school is in an interdependent relationship that reinforces “the way things are” in the wider society.
The structure of schooling, particularly the control mechanisms such as academic or grades qualifications — contributes to whiteness as a social system…
Moving onto what is the (white) elephant literally in the space:
Whiteboards play an important role in reshaping whiteness into a social organization. Particularly, they provide written information to the public for consumption. They draw attention to their own and, in this instance, help to center an abstract representation, and the person in front of it, giving the presentation. They are part of the white cultural norms, in which ideas and experiences are valued (become more prominent) when they are written down.
The essay also describes dry-erase boards as “mechanisms of control.” In the report, when three students try to solve a physics problem, they use a whiteboard as well as the Physics “energy-interaction diagram” “[organize] activity around [themselves, making] it possible for a single person (among the trio) to maintain control” a white power-grab, if I may.
With the news article and many others that are smears of pigment, it sounds like the world needs to get rid of the data and begin new.
However, many are still giving the best they can by demonizing an entire race. And there are no hidden messages; institutions and individuals explicitly indicate to the rest of the world that its Caucasian component is not good.
However, as outlined by the Smithsonian, the elements of whiteness ready to be smashed are the following:
The Nuclear Family
The belief that hard work is the key to success
Plan for Future
Returning to physics, it appears they're trying to deal with the individual as well as focus, human interaction, and the old ways of working.
If you're not sure about how whiteboards can be racist, W. Tali Hairston, the director for community organization, advocacy, and growth at Seattle Presbytery — explains to campus Reform:
“Whiteboards can be racist like how housing, employment, and the judicial systems were found to contain racist practices. … Our findings support other studies that have found the study of physics to include racism and sexism.”
Keep a watchful eye on the scientific method.