'I can't be racist if I'm from an ethnic minority'. Discuss

Published
image copyrightAnna Doble

You can't be racist if you're from an ethnic minority, right?

That's the view of 27-year-old Bahar Mustafa, a student union diversity official at Goldsmiths University in London.

She asked white people not to attend a meeting about diversity and then defended her actions by saying she's not racist as she's from an ethnic minority.

The university has written to the union to "express concern".

Bahar's original Facebook post, which has now been taken down, said: "Invite loads of BME Women and non-binary people!! Also, if you've been invited and you're a man and/or white PLEASE DON'T COME just cos I invited a bunch of people and hope you will be responsible enough to respect this is a BME Women and non-binary event only."

We've been trying to contact Bahar all day but there's been no response so far.

She is quoted as telling a student assembly, last week: "I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender.

"And therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist because we do not stand to benefit from such a system."

We've had dozens of responses to this story. Here's what you've been saying.

One listener texted in to say: "Utter rubbish and clearly rather egotistical to claim that you can't be racist because you are part of a minority. I am part of a minority and can be racist / prejudiced / bigoted at times, it's almost natural to some extent.

"It's just a question of whether you do something negative with those thoughts or not and excluding white people from a discussion on diversity is hypocritical in the extreme."

Most of you thought that people of any race can be racist. Some thought we shouldn't be asking for your opinion. But a few saw some logic in what Bahar has been saying.

And on campus...

Goldsmiths student Katie Dove-Dixon, 24, says: "I 100% agree with Bahar that marginalised groups need safe spaces.

And she doesn't think it's possible for a white person to experience racism in this country.

"I could experience an individual situation where I experience prejudice or bigotry but it would be an individual instance...

"Because I do not experience far-reaching racism which systemically has oppressed me for 400 years and continues to oppress me in every facet of my life."

Katie says it's all about context: "If you look at it sociologically, racism is the experience of prejudice plus power.

"It can only be experienced if there's that context of colonial oppression and media bias."

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