How does political discourse become so corrupt as to produce a white students’ union? That is the question many are asking when, just days after NYU held a diversity forum, an NYU White Students’ Union Facebook page surfaced.
The page appeared around the same time as white student union pages at University of California Berkeley and the University of Illinois, among many others. The NYU group claims to foster a community for “European-American students [who] face unique and immediate challenges that are ignored or even actively denied.”
At a time when race relations continue to dominate conversations on campuses nationwide, the page is completely out of line and has no place at NYU. Given that President John Sexton has pledged to continue the conversation on race and inclusion, the administration should denounce the Facebook page and continue to address the underlying racial tensions which cause these racist beliefs to fester.
The protests at the University of Missouri have resulted in a much-needed conversation about the limits of free speech on college campuses. Media outlets and students alike have put safe spaces for minority students on blast for being impediments to free speech. And yet, when an exclusionary space for white students crops up, whose very existence is predicated on maintaining the racial exclusivity that has plagued the United States for centuries, administrations and pundits swoop down to protect their right to exist.
One post on the page questions, “Is the word ‘diversity’ itself a discriminatory term against whites?” Many of the posters who are rallying to defend the page are not even NYU students, but are leaping to defend the page’s right to spout racist rhetoric. The fact that we’re still stuck on these inane, nonsensical talking points shows just how much work for racial justice still has to be done, and how unproductive white student unions are at advancing that discussion.
At the time of writing, the group has more than 200 members and several posts linking to articles critical of the Black Lives Matter movement. The most recent post from the administrator of the Facebook page cites “security concerns” that arose from “several threatening and racially charged messages” as the reason they will not be holding their weekly meeting. This does not change the fact that white people simply do not experience racism, and the exclusion and threats they now experience are only a small taste of what students of color experience on a daily basis. This page does not represent the values of our university and its students and should be barred from affiliating itself with NYU. The university must come out against white supremacy and moronic white pride.
A version of this article appeared in the November 23 print edition. Email the Editorial Board at [email protected]