South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, WA, held an event for staffers that deliberately excluded white employees. After being called out for the blatant race-based exclusion, the college’s Diversity and Equity Center director defended the exclusive event, arguing that minority staffers might feel uncomfortable talking openly about issues of race if white staff were there.
Local news source King 5, reported on the tax-payer funded college’s racially exclusive event, which was canceled after pushback from the staffers and the community. The announcement of the event from "Staff, Faculty and Administrators of Color” went out to all 300 staffers and required a reply to the email in order to learn the confidential date and time of the happy hour. As King 5 highlights, the invite made it clear that white employees were not invited, with a statement that read:
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.
Though the event was canceled and the Dean of College Relations, called the invitation “obviously a mistake,” local conservative radio station KTTH reported that Karama Blackthorn, director of the college’s Diversity and Equity Center, defended the event, saying that minority employees might feel uncomfortable talking about issues of race in front of white employees and that the invitation just needed to be worded more carefully. "That space is not for white people, that space is for people of color," she said.
KTTH host David Boze ripped the college’s actions, arguing the need to “rethink their entire diversity program,” highlighting that the community is paying tax dollars to subsidize the school, and that the racial assumptions of Blackhorn and company are reductive and insulting:
When the left voices the policies they want, they tend to be offensive, and then they retreat. They want white people to feel excluded from any conversation about race. As if white people have a lock on racism around the globe.
Do all people of color have the same cultural experience? Even talking in group terms, the idea that all groups have the same experience doesn’t quite measure up. And so it’s a very bizarre thing. Diversity should be about opinion, right?