People's History of Oregon: Constructing White Supremacy in our State (May 2019)

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White Trade.jpg

People's History of Oregon: Constructing White Supremacy in our State (May 2019)

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Despite Oregon’s progressive and forward thinking reputation, our history tells another story. Students in this course will spend six weeks delving into this history and current realities, and will develop deeper understanding of how Oregon’s whiteness, historically and today, has been created.

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Date: Tuesdays, May 7, 14, 21, 28, and June 4, 11
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: SE Uplift | 3534 SE Main St.

Tier A Pricing: $249 ($30/hr or above wage earners)
Tier B Pricing: $199 ($16-29/hr wage earners)
Tier C Pricing: $149 ($15/hr or below wage earners)
See our Pricing + Generosity Policy for more information on tiered pricing. 

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Despite Oregon’s progressive and forward thinking reputation, our history tells another story – indeed, many refer to Oregon as the South of the North, as we have historically embraced segregation, exclusion and displacement. Students in this course will spend six weeks delving into this history and current realities, and will develop deeper understanding of how Oregon’s whiteness, historically and today, has been created.

From the eradication of Native Americans to the exclusion and displacement of African Americans, from Japanese-American Internment to deportation of Latinx peoples, Oregon’s white people have taken exceptional steps to secure power. These acts have created today’s communities, in which people of color, statistically, experience disparities that are worse than in many other states. Through this class, we will look at how Oregon’s whiteness, historically and today, has been created.

Week One: What is Race, anyway? We will explore how race as a construct, including whiteness, came to be in the United States. We will also look at the many manifestations of racism as it permeates our society.

Week Two: Portlandia – How do we see ourselves? We will discuss our own impressions of Portland and its culture, as well as the current disparities between communities of color and white Oregonians, looking at each community and unique characteristics of each.

Week Three: Early exclusions and genocide - How was Oregon founded? Who were the first white people here? We will explore the early days of the Oregon Territory and the first years of statehood, and look at the ways Oregon's pioneers intended the state to be a white utopia.

Week Four: Segregation, Hate Groups and Deportations – As communities of color entered Oregon in greater numbers, how did many white Oregonians respond? We will examine the birth of segregation in Oregon, hate groups like the KKK, as well as the first of several catastrophic deportations in the state.

Week Five: World War II and the Aftermath – World War II and the years immediately following transformed people of color communities in Oregon. This week, we will explore Vanport, Japanese Internment, and the ways in which Latinx and Native communities were involved in the war effort. We will also look at the years immediately following the War, including a displacements, deportations and disinvestment.

Week Six: Time for Action – We will summarize the class together, share learnings and reflections, and discuss how we can help build a different future for our beloved communities.

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Kristin Teigen, MA, M.Ed. is an educator at Portland State University, where she teaches the history of communities of color in Oregon and issues of women’s homelessness. She’s also an anti-oppression activist, working in feminist, queer and people of color movements, and a trained anti-oppression facilitator.