A staff happy hour event was canceled at a Washington State college after white staff was excluded because the school’s diversity center felt whites would make it too difficult to have an honest discussion about race.
“If you want to create space for white folks to meet and work on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege to better our campus community and yourselves, please feel free to do just that,” said an email sent to South Puget Sound Community College's 300 staff members.
"It was obviously a mistake," SPSCC's Dean of College Relations, Kellie Purce Braseth, told King 5. "It was badly worded. If you want to come, you should be able to come because that just makes a richer conversation.”
The coordinator of the college's Diversity and Equity Center, Karama Blackhorn, who helped write invitation to the event, maintains that staff can’t have an honest discussion about race with white people there.
“That space is not for white people,” Blackhorn told King 5. "That space is for people of color. When trying to explicitly talk about race it can be a really difficult conversation for a lot of people, especially when trying to openly invite folks to build a space of solidarity.”
“That’s not diversity,” a student told King 5. “That’s anti what we’re preaching here.”