A group of students at the Claremont Colleges in search of a roommate insist that the roommate not be white.
Student Kare Urena (PZ ’18) posted on Facebook that non-white students in need of housing arrangements should reach out to either her or two other students with whom she plans to live in an off-campus house. The post says that “POC (people of color) only” will be considered for this living opportunity. “I don’t want to live with any white folks,” Urena added.
Dalia Zada (PZ ’18) expressed concerns to the anti-white discrimination. “‘POC only?’ Maybe I’m missing something or misunderstanding your post, but how is that not a racist thing to say?”
“This is directed to protect POC, no white people. Don’t see how this is racist at all…” responded AJ Leon (PZ ’18(, a member of the Pitzer Latino Student Union.
“People of color are allowed to create safe POC only spaces. It is not reverse racism or discriminatory, it is self preservation [sic],” Sara Roschdi (PZ ’17), another Pitzer Latino Student Union member, stated. “Reverse racism isn’t a thing.”
“We don’t want to have to tiptoe around fragile white feelings in a space where we just want to relax and be comfortable,” commented Nina Lee, a Women’s Studies major. “I could live with white people, but I would be far more comfortable living with other poc.”
It is unclear if this refusal of dialogue represents the approaches to conversation on racism with fellow students encouraged by professors of Africana Studies or the Residence Life staff at Pitzer College.
Another RA and Black Student Union member, Jessica Saint-Fleur (PZ ’18) added to the thread of comments, “White people have cause [sic] so much mf [sic] trauma on these campuses…why in the world would I want to live with that? Bring that into my home? A place that is supposed to be safe for me?”
The Mission and Values section of Pitzer College’s website says, “Intercultural Understanding enables Pitzer students to comprehend issues and events from cultural lenses beyond their own.” It also adds that “[Pitzer College] supports the thoughtful exchange of ideas to increase understanding and awareness, and to work across difference without intimidation. We have the right to be heard and the responsibility to listen. Communication, even at its most vigorous, should be respectful and without intent to harm.”