The pitifully goofy notion of addressing racism — somehow — by bringing back the separate-but-equal doctrine keeps popping up at colleges and universities.
The latest incident occurred last week at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Wash., reports Seattle-area NBC affiliate KING-TV.
Staffers in the Diversity and Equity Center sent an invitation to all 300 employees of the taxpayer-funded school concerning a happy hour intended to “build support and community” for “people of color.”
The invitation stated in no uncertain terms that white people could not attend. It instructed recipients with the right skin colors to reply seeking the highly confidential date and time of the happy hour.
The email did have some advice for white recipients, though. “If you want to create space for white folks to meet and work on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege to better our campus community and yourselves, please feel free to do just that,” it read.
Diversity and Equity Center staffer Karama Blackhorn, a multi-pierced woman with a long, thin braid, helped write the invitation.
“That space is not for white people,” she told KING-TV. “That space is for people of color.”
In hindsight, Blackhorn said, she wouldn’t have used the exact words she used. However, she hasn’t backed down one bit from the sentiment.
“When trying to explicitly talk about race it can be a really difficult conversation for a lot of people,” Blackhorn told the NBC affiliate, “especially when trying to openly invite folks to build a space of solidarity.”
Blackhorn’s bosses did not agree.
“It was obviously a mistake,” Kellie Purce Braseth, the school’s dean of college relations told the station. “It was badly worded.”
Braseth also noted that the Diversity and Equity Center has canceled the whites-excluded happy hour and apologized for the language in the invitation.
Students who saw the invitation also didn’t think a racist happy hour would be a good idea.
“This kind of, like, contradicts the message they are trying to send,” said one white kid in a KING-TV student-on-the-street interview. “They are, like, judging white people because they are white.”
A course fulfilling a diversity requirement is required for all students who want a degree from the community college.