NYU student demands Black-only housing
In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he envisioned Americans being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
Within five years of that, President Lyndon Johnson enacted three laws — the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act — that propelled King’s vision forward by essentially killing Jim Crow laws, the legalized form of segregation that existed in much of the South.
But now, barely five decades after civil rights activists brought about the most inclusive changes in U.S. history, it is some Black Americans who push for racial separation.
Recently, Black students at New York University campaigned for segregated dorms serving only Black students and those who “identify” as Black.
According to Reason magazine, the issue arose because of a Change.org petition circulated by NYU student Brenah Johnson, who is Black.
Johnson’s petition, signed by 1,125 people as of Tuesday morning, said its supporters “demand” that NYU establish dormitory “floors completely comprised of Black-identifying students with Black Resident Assistants,” as well as “Black Programming and In-Hall Events, curated by the RA and the floor community,” and “required Bias and Diversity Training for ALL residents before entering NYU housing.”
“This is not an exclusionary demand, but rather a necessary accommodation considering the specific challenges Black students face at this university,” the petition adds.
A campus publication and a socialist website reported that NYU had backed the plan.
While the petition’s language conflicted about the goal of the proposed segregation plan, NYU spokesman John Beckham denied reports that the university was on board.
In a statement he maintained a report that “NYU is implementing ‘racial segregation in its dorms’ is false and misleading.”
Beckham acknowledged that Black students did apply to create an “Exploration Floor” themed around Black history and culture, and that NYU has roughly 30 such floors of varying kinds.
But, he added, “During the course of the discussion about the application process – which is ongoing – the Housing Office staff made clear that all Exploration Floors must be open to applicants of all races and backgrounds.”
“The University strongly supports the goals of diversity, and of creating an environment that is welcoming, supportive, and inclusive for students of color and students from marginalized communities. However, NYU does not have and will not create student housing that excludes any student based on race.”
However, in the current political climate, we’ll see how long the university can hold out.
Johnson’s petition stated, “There is not one space on campus entirely dedicated to Black student life. Black Lives Matter cannot be reduced to a slogan sent in university-wide emails. Now is the time for NYU to create tangible change to support its Black students.”
Given the influence BLM wields in liberal circles, it would not be surprising to see Johnson’s petition realized and NYU explaining in Orwellian fashion how a Blacks-only segregated dorm really isn’t exclusionary. Meanwhile, segregation is trending among America’s colleges.
In 2019, according to the Washington Examiner, 76 colleges among 173 studied by the National Association of Scholars, including Harvard, Yale, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State and University of California-Berkeley, conducted segregated “supplemental commencement ceremonies” along racial and ethnic lines that were “offered in addition to the universities’ regular graduation ceremonies” but were “not mandatory.”
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