Is white paint racist? Norway’s University of Bergen is exploring that question, asking how the aesthetic of white paint helped the nation contribute to white supremacy and helped “[make] the world whiter.”
“Whiteness is not only a cultural and societal condition tied to skin color, privileges, and systematic exclusion, but materialize everywhere around us,” a rundown of the study read.
“Although Norway is not a conventional colonial power, this project will show how the country has played a globally leading role in establishing white as a superior color,” it said. “Until now, however, this story has been lesser known to scholars and the public.”
The study on whiteness and paint, coined as NorWhite, observes the Norwegian-developed paint pigment titanium white through “historical, aesthetic, and critical” lenses to determine how the development of the color contributed to “social transformation” as well as how the innovation led to “planetary consequences.”
“Currently the Norwegian innovation TiO2 [titanium dioxide] is present in literally every part of modern life…The primary research question is: What are the cultural and aesthetic changes instigated by titanium white and TiO2 surfaces – and how can both the material in itself and these changes be conceptualized and made visible?” the description asks.
The Research Council of Norway, a government agency, is funding the study with 12 million NOK (the Norwegian currency is the Krone) explored by University of Bergen associate professor and historian Ingrid Halland through a grant that explores the paint color’s historical legacy, its origins in Norway, and features images of several of the nation’s building plastered in the color.
“The overall objective of NorWhite is to critically and visually investigate the cultural and aesthetic preconditions of a complex and unexplored part of Norwegian technology and innovation history that has—as this project claims—made the world whiter,” the description concluded.
The study is also sponsored by two of the major companies that contributed to titanium white paint’s prevalence in the country – Titania A/S who extracts ore for use in titanium-based products and Kronos Titan, who produces the titanium dioxide pigment.
The study cites that titanium dioxide is currently a part of everyday life, including in food, paper, tattoos, synthetic textiles, cosmetics and more in addition to altering the country’s architectural aesthetic through a brighter, more opaque color, and research aims to dissect the historical development that “revolutionized the color-industry” with an “absolute white” color.
The University of Bergen study is only the latest example of higher education making “whiteness” a focus.
In the United States last year, Los Angeles Public Schools enforced the idea that “merit” and “individualism” were concepts originating from “whiteness” and must be questioned.
Fox News Digital obtained documents from government watchdog group Judicial Watch last year indicating the United States Military Academy at West Point was also among the institutions taking hits at “whiteness” last year with its critical race theory-based curriculum.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.