Not long ago, America was headed for unprecedented unity. But the tables have turned — into segregated ones.
Case in point: Portland State University’s recent symposium on diversity, equity and inclusion. Per a slideshow posted online by the school, everyone was welcome — at their correspondent, color-coded tables:
Please sit at the tables that most align with your salient identities. You are also welcome to self-define multicultural and intersectional tables beyond single definitions e.g. Women of Color, QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color), folks with disabilities, Immigrant, refugee, etc.
Might some want to solely fraternize with folks dealing with disabilities? The message seems one step away from “Feel free to stay home and not be around other people.”
But for those wanting to rub restricted elbows, seating options were thusly listed:
- Native/Indigenous Community Tables
- Black Community Tables
- Latiné Community Tables
- PIAA (Pacific Islander, Asian American) Community Tables
- MENASA (Middle East, North Africa, South Asia) Community Tables
- White Community Tables
- Multicultural Community Tables
- Intersectional Community Tables
Latiné, of course, is what Latin Americans are now being told they want to be called.
As for people being separated according to race or self-identity, it’s the new American way:
Portland State University’s DEI summit opened with a Land Acknowledgement — a recognition of stolen land which, so far as I’m aware, has never in the history of stolen land recognition been followed by a giving back of the stolen land.
The College Fix spoke to PSU Media Relations Manager Katy Swordfisk, who explained that the conference was “built on a series of affinity convenings that took place earlier in the year.”
They played a bit of musical chairs; per Katy’s email:
“Participants were invited to sit at a table that resonated with their identity (including Black, Latinx, White, Native American and Multicultural, as a few examples) for the first part of the day, and shifted to tables by discussion topic later in the day.”
Speaking of music, in 1982, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder had a huge hit with “Ebony and Ivory.” The song pointed out, “Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony side by side on my piano keyboard.” The song asked, “Why don’t we?” These days, the question from many institutions looks to be, “Why would we want to?”
Colorblindness was once hailed as a virtue. Those contemporarily in charge have evidently decided that was a misstep. According to them, it seems, separation is key. It’s been said that what is divided can be more easily conquered. If that’s true, our goose appears conquer-ably cooked.
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