October 1, 2016

Letter to the Editor: Safe Spaces are for progression

By Susan Rother, Webster University student

 

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, The Journal published Daniel Carcione’s “Safe spaces are unnecessary – the real world is not a safe place for anyone” in response to one of the Association of African-American Collegians (AAAC) demands to Webster University’s administration after several attempts to meet with them on Nov. 12 to create a “safe space” for African-Americans on campus.

Carcione disagrees with the demand and says it would be “most damaging” to the community since creating a safe space for minorities is “not how society works.” Carcione claims that the correct way to approach racial discrimination is with a 1960s mindset to fix everything by ending segregation. He fails to recognize the truth of reality that institutional racism still exists at Webster, which fails to have an African-American studies program integrated into their Global Citizenship Program (GCP), fails to have African-American studies as an option for a degree, and fails to instate a diverse faculty after decades of accepting African-American students at Webster.

A safe space at Webster University for the African-American community will lead toward progression, as African-American students will be able to express their experiences and emotions in a safe environment where they will not be judged, ridiculed, or deemed unworthy by the white majority on campus and can effectively combat racism against particular groups and persons by formulating ideas and relationships where they will, in essence, finally become the majority. “We are culturally diverse, but we are not culturally immersive,” said Bryce Goodloe, a member of AAAC.

As a person who is able to identify with the majority group, forcing minorities to conform simply because they do not have enough representation to enable change is not just. The majority is never always right, yet it still has more authority than minorities simply because the majority vote outweighs them. Carcione is a white male, who is on every account a part of the majority, and has the audacity to deem what is and is not best for minorities on campus while ridiculing their need for a safe space as he demands they “develop a thick skin and deal with it,” which the African-American community specifically wants to change at Webster.

Even though Webster claims to be a global and diverse university, its lack to understand and its unwillingness to meet AAAC to discuss their need for a diverse population exemplifies Webster’s institutional racism and desperate need for change in order for this university to truly become a global and diverse campus. After several attempts to meet with Webster University President, Elizabeth Stroble, she finally agreed to sit and listen to AAAC’s needs for the first time, only after Mizzou’s president, Tim Wolfe, stepped down after the racial controversy there. AAAC will meet again with Stroble this Thursday, Dec. 3, where she will address their demands.

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