Say no to US race politics

Dec 2, 2022 by

by Rakib Ehsan, Artillery Row:

With reports that the University of Westminster’s student union banned white students from a number of Black History Month events, it appears that American-style racial segregation has made its depressing way into the sphere of British higher education.

It has been reported that University of Westminster’s student union told students that some Black History Month events — an annual observance originating in the United States where it is also known as African-American History Month — will be “reserved for black students to encourage a safe space for discussions and honest conversations”.

The term “safe space” — according to Merriam-Webster — refers to places “intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations”. Usually located on the university campuses of the United States, they have also been introduced to the workplaces of multinational corporations such as Nokia.

While the concept of safe spaces originated in broader “LGBT culture”, it has since been expanded to cover minorities on the grounds of race, ethnicity and religious belief — offering supposedly disadvantaged groups the “emotional safety” to discuss negative experiences with fellow ingroup members — insulated from the “threat” of outgroups who have different points of view on delicate matters of politics and society. From a human-rights perspective, it could be argued that safe spaces are in keeping with the freedom of assembly and association — the right of people to come together and collectively express, promote, pursue, and defend their collective or shared ideas and interests.

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