A university has come under fire after segregating white students from students of color in a bizarre attempt to “promote discussion about race and diversity.”
The University of Michigan-Dearborn has been slammed for segregating students based on their skin color after announcing they would be holding two online seminars, whereas one would be for students of color, including indigenous and black people, and the other one would be for non-people of color.
Both online ‘café’ events were set to take place on September 8 at the same time in the afternoon.
The description of the BIPOC Café event read:
“The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Café is a space for student from marginalized racial/ethnic/cultural communities to gather and to relate with one another and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as people of color in the world.”
Meanwhile, the description of the Non-POC Café read:
“The Non-POC (People Of Color) Café is a space for students that do not identify as persons of color to gather and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as non-POC in the world.”
The news of the intentional segregation of students based on their skin color has gone viral after the announcement was flagged on Twitter by Abed A. Ayoub, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee legal and policy director.
While Ayoub acknowledged that the University likely created segregated spaces so that students of color would feel free to open up about their experiences related to racism, he insisted it is important all sides are included in the debate so that students can learn from each other.
“It seemed that opportunity was missed intentionally. We know this is a mistake but hope they move forward,” he said.
Following the backlash that the UM has been facing for its methods, the school’s officials have apologized for calling the seminars ‘cafes’ and therefore prompting some people to believe they were building physical cafes in which students would be segregated.
As the statement from the University also explained, “the cafes were virtual open conversations developed to allow students the opportunity to connect to process current events, share their experiences related to race, share knowledge and resources and brainstorm solutions.”
“The original intent was to provide students from marginalized communities a space that allowed for them to exist freely without having to normalize their lives and experiences,” the UM-Dearborn’s statement read.
“While also providing students that do not identify as persons of color the opportunity to deepen their understanding of race and racism without harming or relying on students of color to educate them.”
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