Sometimes it’s hard to separate parody from reality, because oftentimes these days, they’re one and the same.
A student union at Goldsmiths, University of London, wanted to hold a meeting that focused on diversity and equality. The event was organized by the union’s “diversity officer.” Oh, and white people and men were not allowed to attend. The meeting that was meant to address racial and sexual diversity and equality was only open to black, minority ethnic (BME) women. You can’t make this stuff up.
Fortunately, other students weren’t afraid to call out the “diversity officer” for her parodic hypocrisy, which prompted her to be more inclusive of people of other sexes and ethnic backgrounds. The Daily Mail reported:
The event, held on Wednesday, was organized by welfare and diversity officer Bahar Mustafa, who said she hoped to persuade academics to broaden courses to include more material relating to minority groups.
She wrote on Facebook: “Invite loads of BME Women and non-binary people!! Also, if you’ve been invited and you’re a man and/or white PLEASE DON’T COME just cos i invited a bunch of people and hope you will be responsible enough to respect this is a BME Women and non-binary event only.”
Non-binary is a term used to describe people who do not consider themselves exclusively male or female.
Miss Mustafa, 27, added: “Don’t worry lads we will give you and allies things to do,” followed by a wink. The event’s online page said it was open to “self-defining BLACK and ETHNIC MINORITY women and non-binary people with gender identities that include ‘woman.’”
The ban on men and white students is surprising, since the organizers claim to promote “zero tolerance” for “all forms of prejudice, discrimination and oppression.”
A senior union member told student newspaper The Tab that Miss Mustafa’s actions had made it “very difficult” for male students.
He said many white men felt they “could not say anything for fear of retribution,” adding: “For Bahar to have the nerve to write this is patronizing beyond belief. The irony that she thinks that they are diversifying the student community in the name of feminism and multiculturalism is laughable.”
The event sparked a fierce backlash on social media, with one user writing: “Isn’t this racism – and why wasn’t she prosecuted?”
Another said: “Hypocrisy of the left … When will people see it.”
Organizers later appeared to back down on the rules, with the statement “Allies now welcome!” added to the meeting’s Facebook page.
Miss Mustafa recently graduated from Goldsmiths with an MA in gender and media studies.
I’m a white guy myself. I think what I would have done if I had been a student over there is come to the event. And if they gave me trouble about my being a white male, I would have told them, “Oh, I was born a white male, but I don’t identify with either. I was never supposed to be white or male. I’m actually a black woman. That’s my true identity. Please call me Jazelle.” And it would be great if I had about 25 other white guys to do the same. At that point, they’d be forced to include all of us and refer to us as black, minority ethnic women. If they refused to let us in or claimed that we were faking, they’d be guilty of a hate crime.