The University of Ottawa’s student government has come under fire for sponsoring a discussion about racism in which participants were segregated into racial groups.
The Student Federation was also accused of censoring backlash against the event by shutting down its Facebook page.
The event was held yesterday. Organizers insisted that participants would be split into two groups: white students and non-white students. The white group would discuss white privilege while the non-white group discussed being victims of discrimination, according to Macleans.
That event was promoted through Facebook, where some students quickly became enraged that a discussion about racism would be organized around racial segregation.
“What about mixed-race individuals?” asked one person on the event’s Facebook page. “Do Black, Asian, Latina/o people all face the same kind of discrimination on campus based on their skin colour? What if you’re a person of colour, but it doesn’t show on your skin – are you still a person of colour? What about sex and gender? What if you identify as a person of colour but your skin looks white? What about disability and race, and how they intersect – will there be a room for that?”
Another said she would rather be in the same room as the white people, so that she could at least accuse them of racism.
“Can I suggest that the white people do not just talk about their white privilege?” wrote this student. “That’s pretty basic and not productive to anything if white people are just gonna sit there and talk about themselves and essentially attend a counselling session where they can cry about white privilege. I would rather challenge the white people to own up to ways they are racist.”
Eventually the page was taken down, though a version of it was archived.
The event still took place, though organizers said that people would be split into voluntary groups: victims of discrimination, and non-victims who nevertheless want to help victims of discrimination. (RELATED: Student forced to apologize for emailing pic of Obama kicking a door, because RACISM)
The organizers maintained that this had always been the intention. They also maintained that it was ludicrous to accuse the event of promoting reverse racism, because reverse racism is impossible.
“It is first important to note that reverse racism is a myth,” wrote the organizers in a statement. (RELATED: Trustafarian rich-kid college brings back separate-but-equal race segregation)
Omar Benmegdoul, an economics student at Ottawa, told The Daily Caller that organizers were wrong to assume only non-white students could be victims of racism.
“I think that the event, as described on Facebook, made the assumption that people who are white cannot experience racism,” he said. “I don’t think that’s true, and in fact some people spoke up on the event page to say that they had.”
“Racism isn’t just white vs. non-white; it goes in all kinds of directions,” he added.
Some students want the organizers of the event to resign from student government.