America once stood upon an ideal: unity.
These days, it seems, we’re told such a thing isn’t to be had — due not only to ideological differences, but our various shades of skin.
For particular possessors of ostensibly immutable characteristics, there’s talk of “safety.”
Not long ago, togetherness was touted — by organizations and in entertainment.
But times are changing — segregation, it looks impossible to deny, is coming back.
Case in point: Western Washington University’s new Black Affinity Housing.
From the official webpage:
The Black Affinity Housing program is located on the fourth floor of Alma Clark Glass Hall, named for the first Black student to attend Western Washington University in 1906. The program explores and celebrates the diversity of Black and African American people and culture, with historical and contemporary context. All Western students residing in the program help foster a warm and vibrant community supporting social, personal and academic success.
It’s a celebration of diversity:
Black Affinity Housing residents, representing all diverse identities, pride themselves on fostering a sense of belonging for all residents by creating a safe environment for open, honest, and sometimes challenging dialogue. Regular programmatic events and interactions allow students to deepen knowledge and understanding of themselves, peers, and the world.
“Any student interested in Black Affinity Housing and committed to the goals of the program,” the site says, “is encouraged to submit a request form.”
The stated goals are these:
- Build a caring and connected community among residents.
- Provide students with opportunities for learning about development of their own multidimensional personal and social identities.
- Connect residents with resources across campus that promote academic success and personal wellness centering the Black student experience.
“Affinity” groups are catching on.
At the University of Tennessee-Knoxville recently, students were segmented according to color.
Courtesy of my coverage:
Caucasians are assigned to the “White Accountability Group.” …
The training will enlighten light-colored learners on “how to recognize whiteness and white privilege, identify and interrupt internalized dominance, and collectively develop strategies for liberation and change.” …
On the other side of the segregating aisle are “BIMPoC (Black, Indigenous, Multiracial People of Color) Affinity Groups.” …
While the white group will shoulder responsibility for being oppressive, BIMPoC folks will gather for support from those with any skin that isn’t pale.
At Washington D.C.’s American University, a black-only “affinity” iteration of its pre-Diversity and Equity course was commissioned this year.
An article heralding the event was titled “Black Affinity AUx2 is Praised as a Safe Space for Black Students.”
American U. also offers “safe” housing:
My black friend who was just accepted into American University was sent an ad from the school’s Center of Diversity & Inclusion, offering “Black Affinity Housing” — newly renovated dorms for black students to “affirm their identities”
— Olivia Rondeau 🇺🇸 (@rondeaulivia) August 9, 2021
Call it a trend:
— Forbes (@Forbes) August 15, 2021
Back to Western Washington’s newly-christened accommodations, a Frequently Asked Questions section makes clear more than black students are allowed:
WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race. No student is required to join the Black Affinity Housing community, and no student is excluded from joining it. The community welcomes all residents who are interested in exploring and celebrating the diversity of Black and African American people and culture, with historical and contemporary contexts.
Of course, in the real and natural world, neighborhoods are sometimes comprised of a common race.
So might a dormitory hall be.
But when young people are taught it’s their need — and that such a thing is what makes them safe — I suspect it’s an investment in a future not as bright as we’d prefer.
We’re being divided — by race, by political party, by vaccination status.
And despite the heralding of “diversity” as our strength, we’re being made weak — and primed for conquering.
For everything separating us, what forces are drawing us near?
There aren’t so many, so far as I can tell.
Still, sometimes things go the other way:
Riveting Reversal: University Cancels Segregated 'Antiracism' Training
— RedState (@RedState) September 24, 2021
And if you want mountain-moving hope, I have it.
It comes from Klein Oak High School head football coach Jason Glenn.
Witness a powerful voice speak togetherness to the minds and hearts of a generation…in a way that could turn America’s tide.
Hope is alive, not only because of Jason, but because there are many across the nation who share his belief. And because they can make their voices heard, too.
Despite our differences, may we all one day be on the same team again.
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