UK school under fire for hosting ‘Resisting Whiteness’ event with rules discriminating against white people
The University of Edinburgh has allowed a ‘Resisting Whiteness 2019’ event to proceed at its venue, even though there was outrage over organizers' rules, which limited white people's access to a microphone and to certain rooms.
The conference, aimed at raising awareness about “the importance of anti-racist action in the UK” took place at Pleasance Theater, owned by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, on Saturday.
It was organized by a group tellingly named ‘The Resisting Whiteness Collective,’ which describes itself as a “not-for-profit grassroots organization of QTPOC [Queer and Trans People of Color] activists.” While touting the event, the group said that it wants to make it “as accessible as possible and therefore have free tickets available for those who would like to attend.”
However, it seems not everybody was welcome. The rules published on the conference’s official website state that if an attendee is white, they will have no right to ask questions, at least publicly. The rule, introduced to “amplify the voices of people of color” said that “priority will be given to questions from people of color in the audience.”
“If you are a white person in the audience and you still have a question after the panel has ended, please feel free to share your questions with a member of the committee or our speakers then”
While some argued that the attempt to muffle voices of a particular group, in this case white people, is tantamount to the racism that the "collective" so fervently opposes, another controversial rule sparked comparisons with segregation practices.
The "safe spaces" rule states that one of the two rooms “available to anyone who needs to remove themselves from the conference” due to anxiety issues or just to take a break is off-limits to white people.Also on rt.com Social justice warrior Megan Rapinoe under fire for saying Virgil van Dijk should win player of the year ‘just for how cute he is’
“The Braid room is a safe space for only people of color, and the Cheviot room is available for anyone who needs it,” the rule states.
The controversial event was thrust into the national media spotlight earlier this week after outspoken media personality Katie Hopkins denounced the university’s decision to host the gathering on Twitter.
University of Edinburgh @EdinburghUni hosting / supporting event “Resisting whiteness” where white people wil not be permitted to speak and segregated from certain rooms. Try exchanging the word white for blank. pic.twitter.com/4uablyfh4F— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) September 28, 2019
Her tweet has opened the floodgates to similar accusations against the university, with many arguing that by throwing its weight behind the event, the school is endorsing racism.
“You're hosting 'Resisting Whiteness,' is that not similar to 'resisting blackness?'" one commenter asked.
@EdinburghUni I’d like to object to the racist, anti white,, so-called anti racism conference yesterday. Resisting whiteness? Seriously? You guys think that’s okay in a majority white country? Is allowing hatred of and racism against whites going to work out well for anyone?— RussianBot.exe (@daFrogDude) September 29, 2019
@EdinburghUni has given a group named 'Resisting Whiteness' a platform in their university. They have blocked white people from entering one of the events and from asking questions.Peak clown world? Not yet.— Left-wing Hatewatch (@LWhatewatch) September 28, 2019
@EdinburghUni why do you think it’s acceptable to host an event called “resisting whiteness”? This is blatantly a racist event and you wouldn’t do one called “resisting blackness” that banned POC speakers #racist— siholden96 (@siholden96) September 28, 2019
Another Twitter user suggested that the group has “a hidden agenda... [to] stoke race wars.”
The worst thing about this. I believe there is a hidden agenda here and it not about Resisting Whiteness. It’s about causing divisions to stoke up race wars. It’s an excuse for them.— Jane Ginger (@JaneGinger50) September 29, 2019
Responding to the backlash, the university said that the organizers had agreed to revise the “safe spaces” policy to “ensure [the] event is compliant with our values.”
They did appear to have watered-down the wording of the mic-access rule that had originally stated: "We will not be giving the microphone to white people during the Q&As.” However, if there were changes to the "safe spaces" rule, they are not reflected on the event's official webpage.
While many chided the organizers, others sided with the "collective," arguing that “reverse racism” does not exist.
Perhaps the saddest thing about folks crying over #Resistingwhiteness2019 is how many of them are unable to grasp that they themselves are simultaneously beneficiaries and victims of whiteness as a construct. They're barking at folks fighting their corner.— Thomas D (@VideoPheasant) September 29, 2019
A bookshop that helped to arrange the event took a swipe at the critics, saying that they had “willfully misunderstood” the group’s intentions.
“Resisting whiteness is not about white individuals, it is about whiteness as a pervasive system of oppression – both social & political – a system that needs resisting & dismantling,” it wrote.
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