The Huffington Post recently updated an article they had posted in March. The article is entitled, “Ethnic Minorities Deserve Safe Spaces Without White People.” Wow. Does that mean that white people also deserve safe spaces without ethnic minorities? If it doesn’t go both ways is it discrimination? Racism?
The article states:
Last week The Ryersonian reported on an incident that involved two first-year journalism students who were turned away from an event organized by Racialized Students’ Collective because they are white. Since then there has been a lot of commentary on the piece and a lot of debate — a lot of the criticism is valid.
There are two sides to the story: 1) the media has a right to attend public events and report on matters that are in the public interest. The student media needs to cover initiatives that are happening on campus so that we draw attention to them and in turn create awareness (The Ryersonian reported that one student said he was covering the meeting for an assignment). 2) Marginalized groups have a right to claim spaces in the public realm where they can share stories about the discrimination they have faced without judgment and intrusion from anyone else.
I am sorry for any minority that has been treated badly. My ancestry is Irish and Jewish, so I suspect my ancestors might have dealt with some prejudice during their lifetimes, but that was then and this is now.
I would have no reason to judge any person who is a minority talking about discrimination. To me it would be a learning experience. I lived in the American South before the Civil Rights Movement–some of the things I heard and saw were not pretty. I had assumed we were past that until a black friend told me about her children’s experiences getting served in some stores in the South. We have a long way to go before everyone is treated well, but I believe we have made considerable progress in the right direction.
I am not sure excluding white people from an event is going to improve relations between white people and minorities–I think it just builds higher walls that impede communication. Maybe if white people were included, they could learn how minorities feel and what they perceive as mistreatment. Bringing people together tends to work better than separating them. A safe environment can be created for all groups.