Early in September, several Toronto public colleges including University of Toronto, Ryerson University and York University found outrage over a flood of fliers posted promoting the new organization of a “White Students Union.” The posters boasted two young white men standing with Toronto’s CN Tower urging onlookers to visit their website, “Students for Western Civilization.” The club is designed, according to its website, to oppose “cultural Marxism.”
“Students are taught that all of Western Civilization is inherently ‘racist’ and that Western countries are plagued by a ‘systemic and institutionalized’ racism which reinforces a ‘system of white supremacy,’” states an editorial on the club’s website and rejected by York University’s newspaper for print. “It would serve as a platform to promote and advance the political interests of Western peoples.”
The formation of this group brings about several topics relating to more than just race. It’s also worth discussing exactly why groups of any kind exist in the first place.
One real life example is present even in today’s world. Little Italy and Chinatown in New York City were both designed to accustom immigrant Italians and immigrant Chinese to American life. These are both examples of different races and cultures learning to acclimate in the same city together.
Especially in colleges, assimilation is key to every student’s well being. People simply want to be around others who are likeminded, such as the Literary Society or the wakeboarding club team. This also is why cultural organizations like Asian Students Association, Black Student Union and other international student clubs are in existence in a majority-white student body.
Clubs, organizations and unions all allow students to be around friends who understand them completely and share in a similar culture or belief. A White Student Organization perhaps is inappropriate for colleges like Baylor, but what is important is to seek common ground among all races, religions, political beliefs and ideals. No other platform exists for this to occur better than in academia, where people of all walks of life have the endless opportunity to grow from each other and learn about other cultures and mindsets.
This is not a topic of race per se, nor should it be, but a topic of understanding cultures and people’s differences. In a 2005 60 Minutes interview, actor Morgan Freeman said he believed Black History Month should not be confined to one month because black history is also American history. In order to get rid of racism, he said, we simply must stop talking about it.
It’s important to find the value in other cultures and respect where they come from. Let’s celebrate this melting pot we find in America and boast in the diversity we have.