Segregation Makes a Comeback

Dust off your “2020 bingo card.” Even with all this year’s craziness—impeachment; millions of acres of hellfire spreading across California; a global pandemic unleashed by China (which was also the occasion to shut down the engine of the greatest economy the world had ever seen); more than 100 consecutive days of rioting and looting in Portland, Oregon (not to mention similar criminal activity taking place across the country since the death of George Floyd in May)—did you seriously ever expect you’d be covering the square that reads, “American university unironically and enthusiastically endorses Plessy v. Ferguson”?

Didn’t think so.

But you’d better dig up your chips because that’s what very nearly happened at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. (2020 needs to slow down.)

The university tried to bring back Jim Crow-era segregation. The Center for Social Justice and Inclusion (CSJI) recently advertised its creation of a “Non-POC Cafe.” In plain language, it’s a (virtual) cafe just for white students, i.e., those who “do not identify as people of color,” “to gather and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as non-POC in the world.”

It goes on: “Feel free to drop in and discuss your experiences as non-persons of color and hopefully brainstorm solutions to common issues within the non-POC community. The Cafe will be facilitated by a non-POC faculty/staff member to ensure that discussions are kept safe and respectful.” (Go back and re-read that: CSJI considers whites are non-persons of color. Tell us how you really feel!)

Now, before you fret, you should know that there is also a separate (but equal?) “cafe” for BIPOC (“black, indigenous, or people of color”) students, which serves a similar purpose for the campus’s minorities.

I guess we can only hope that the water fountains aren’t of a dramatically different quality.

The university, of course, swiftly apologized after students took to social media to excoriate the idea. Tellingly, they didn’t blast the fact that the so-called cafes would be segregated on the basis of race, in blatant violation of the Declaration of Independence’s teaching that “all men are created equal,” not to mention the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “the equal protection of the laws.” Rather, they took issue with the plan to give white students their own, shall we say, “safe space.” 

In other words, it’s not the fact of separation that enrages them (as it should), but that white students were going to get their own space (regardless of whether BIPOCs were, too).

Here’s a “news report” saying just that in so many words: “It wouldn’t be 2020 if a college didn’t attempt to host a whites-only event intended to give white people a platform to discuss their feelings about being white—you know, without people of color around to make them feel uncomfortable.”


But of course that’s their position. Young people have been thoroughly indoctrinated into the woke faith since they started school, and the finishing touches were applied by our nation’s universities, which have the high honor of training the woke religion’s clerics. That’s why these same people have no problem with minority-only spaces, which predate by several decades this cringe-worthy attempt at fostering “diversity, equity, and inclusion” among UM-Dearborn students.

For example, a report by the National Association of Scholars found that more than 75 universities as of 2019 offer “segregated graduations.” Moreover, lots of spaces on many campuses are described as “multicultural,” which is just thinly veiled code for, “White people really should stay away.”

And yet, not a peep from the social-justice warriors. That isn’t a surprise; it’s exactly in keeping with the tenets of the ascendant woke ideology—critical race theory—that now fully controls all of our major institutions. (Thankfully, that travesty of an intellectual movement is finally being recognized for the poisonous claptrap that it is and is being beaten back somewhat, at least within the sprawling federal bureaucracy.)

What is the attraction of being sorted, voluntarily or not, into a group of people with whom one shares skin tone alone? Why anyone does this is beyond me. I’d much rather spend time with people with whom I have real things in common so that we can share ideas, support one another, and laugh and grow together.

Just because someone shares my pigmentation doesn’t mean I automatically feel any kind of “solidarity” with them whatsoever. Frankly, that’s asking far too much of mere skin.

This worldview—this hyperconsciousness of race and other immutable characteristics that have nothing to do with the content of a person’s character—which is what really matters—is both contagious and dangerous.

If minorities get to parade their race around with pride, it’s only a matter of time before white people naturally wonder why they belong to the one group that isn’t permitted to do likewise. The surefire way to ensure racialized, tribal conflict doesn’t decrease over time is by constantly drawing attention to it. And maybe that’s the point; some people, after all, profit greatly from an angry, divided America. (I’m looking at you, Barack Obama, praiser of violent anarchists.)

If left unchecked, this ideology will destroy the country. In fact, it almost did more than a century ago, and that outcome was only averted by a bloody civil war, prosecuted by an uncommonly great president, Abraham Lincoln.

If we cannot rally around equality before the law and within our institutions, and embrace color blindness within our own hearts, then we will not long survive as a nation, as one people.

And we won’t deserve to, either.

About Deion A. Kathawa

Deion A. Kathawa is an attorney who hails from America’s heartland. He holds a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is a 2021 alumnus of the Claremont Institute’s John Marshall Fellowship. Subscribe to his “Sed Kontra” newsletter.

Photo: Getty Images

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