A Facebook post from says ‘No white roommates, PLEASE’
Student in California liberal arts college, sparks race row on social media, seeking to room with people of color, only
Karé Ureña, a junior at Pitzer College at the Claremont Colleges, advertising for fellow students to join an off-campus house wrote“POC only,” “I don’t want to live with any white folks.”
…the saddest part of this development is that the young people involved are deluded into believing that racism is excusable simply because, for once, they are the ones propagating the implied segregation.
College student Karé Ureña, wants to room with people of color, only
A collective of colleges in Los Angeles suburb has been in an uproar for the past week over Facebook posts from students with one request for housing: No white roommates.
A Facebook post from Karé Ureña, a junior at Pitzer College at the Claremont Colleges, asked for fellow students to join an off-campus house for the upcoming school year.
“POC only,” she wrote, using the abbreviation for “people of color.”
Ureña, who is black, added, “I don’t want to live with any white folks.”
The post, first reported by the Claremont Independent student magazine, sparked outrage from the campus and denouncements from school administration.
Other Pitzer students pushed back on the request, setting off a fierce debate on a private Facebook page. One student wrote “housing segregation is illegal.
Later in the thread, a post read: “I think that a POC-only housing policy is about as clear-cut an example of prejudice as one could find. I completely understand the desire not to live with people who could be racist, but excluding all white people is an extremely blunt instrument to achieve that end and a harmful overgeneralization.”
While it is heartening that Pitzer President Melvin Oliver, himself an t African-American, said the roomie request was “inconsistent with our Mission and values.”
“This is but another example to us that social media is not an effective platform to engage in complex dialog on seemingly intractable critical issues that have varied histories and contested understandings,” he wrote in a message sent to the campus community.
“They create more heat than light and invite extreme viewpoints that intentionally obfuscate the nuanced context that surrounds these issues.”
Students at Claremont Colleges, requested non-white roommates for the upcoming school year.
Non-the less, the saddest part of this development is that the young people involved are deluded into believing that racism is excusable simply because, for once, they are the ones propagating the implied segregation. A sampling of the views of some of the students is quite disturbing:
Dalia Zada (PZ ’18) expressed concerns to the anti-white discrimination. “‘POC only?’ Maybe I’m missing something or misunderstanding your post, but how is that not a racist thing to say?”
“This is directed to protect POC, not white people. Don’t see how this is racist at all…” responded AJ León (PZ ’18). Sara Roschdi (PZ ’17), a Pitzer Latino Student Union member, stated, “People of color are allowed to create safe POC only spaces. It is not reverse racism or discriminatory, it is self preservation.”
“We don’t want to have to tiptoe around fragile white feelings in a space where we just want to relax and be comfortable,” commented Nina Lee, a Women’s Studies major. “I could live with white people, but I would be far more comfortable living with other POC.”
Pitzer student, Terriyonna Smith, later wrote back: “White people always mad when they don’t feel included but at the end of the day y’all are damaging asf (as f—) and if a POC feels they need to protect themselves from that toxic environment THEY CAN! Quick to try to jump on a POC but you won’t call your friends out when they’re being racist asf…I’m not responding to NO comments and NOPE I don’t wanna have a dialogue.”
Ureña and her roommate, Pomona College student Sajo Jefferson, defended their request in a statemen, which said minority students feel ostracized on campus.
“When and if you understand this context, it becomes clear that students of color seeking a living space that is all-POC is not only reasonable, but can be necessary,” the statement said.
“We live in a world where the living circumstances of POC are grounded in racist social structures that we can not opt out of. These conditions threaten the minds, bodies and souls of people of color both within and without the realms of higher education. We are fighting to exist.”
Students at Claremont Colleges, a group of schools including Pitzer College showcase racial intolorance
Ureña said her friends have since found their roommate, and she has deleted the post.
Pitzer is part of Claremont Colleges, a group of small liberal arts schools in Claremont, Califorinia, that also comprises Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College and Pomona College, as well as Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences.
The discussion appeared civil and thoughtful, though it elicited strong emotions on both sides in the school which has 48% of it’s 1,067 undergraduates white; with only 5% African American student population.