Today, Newscorp columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt wrote about so – called “white student unions” are springing in multiple universities across Australia. Students from European background are complaining that they are the one’s being marginalised. These groups are starting to be unofficially established in University of Western Australia, University of Technology, Sydney, Macquarie University, among others. The students starting these union groups claim that they are not racist, but feel marginalised on their own campuses.
I have got to say, that, as a person of Irish/ Scottish descent, I don’t get this. Never once have I been marginalised or excluded because of my racial background. Now, that’s not to say that I’d say that these are definitely not happening in universities across the country, although, frankly, a part of me finds it hard to believe.
From what I can understand, the reason why universities have “safe spaces” and certain groups (ethnic, LGBT+ etc), is because historically, these groups have faced social and political marginalisation from the government and mainstream society. Because of historical events, some ethnic groups, such as those who identify as Aboriginal, find it hard to trust people from a dominant (e.g. Caucasian) background.
I do agree with Bolt, that ideally, these groups/ committees shouldn’t exist; or at least there shouldn’t be a need for it anyway. But, to be perfectly honest, the only way that’s going to occur, in my view, is not to force other ethnic communities out of their groups, but to let others have their voices heard in the mainstream. By mainstream, I mean, in the main university bodies, through the media, etc. Without, and this is a big one; WITHOUT silencing people’s concerns. That means if there are complaints of mistreatment on the basis of race, etc, you DO NOT tell them to shut up. You listen and you deal with it the best you can.
Until now, to my knowledge, there haven’t been any white student unions, because, at least predominately, white people in mainstream Australia (especially Sydney, Melbourne and the like), I’m guessing, haven’t had many social and legal problems purely based on their race.
Am I right or wrong? Have you experienced any problems (social or legal) based on your racial background?