North Texas Daily

Stop missing ‘keypoint’ of safe spaces

Stop missing ‘keypoint’ of safe spaces

Stop missing ‘keypoint’ of safe spaces
June 30
14:16 2020

You have a town of people who have established themselves as being their own little private community. We will call it “Keypoint.” Keypoint is full of people who all know each other well enough. They have a lot of commonalities, and there is no official leader because everyone knows the law of the land and respects this common law. The biggest thing that the citizens of this town share is why they are here in the first place. They were all, at one point or another, labeled as outsiders by the state. They did not feel accepted or appreciated by the areas in which they came from, so they got together and established their own little town. Where they, the “outsiders,” would always be welcomed, support one another and all-around spread kindness and positivity to other fellow citizens.

One day a person came to the town from an area that excluded many people, who now resided in Keypoint. This individual had nothing in common with the citizens of Keypoint, they just wanted a change of pace and a new experience. The citizens of the town were all about inclusivity, and it would be going against what their town stood for if they turned this person away.

They let them stay and live amongst them, though it made them uncomfortable at times to have to be accepting of the kind of person that came from the type of people who did not accept them. After some time, the newcomer to the town started pushing the suggestion that there should be an official form of leadership to make sure that order is maintained amongst the people. This came as a shock to the established citizens because they thought they had been doing just fine with the way things were, and then all of a sudden this complete outsider was trying to tell them how they should run their community.

Yes, the story is all over the place, but the main point is that a member of the majority is trying to infiltrate a space that the minority population has created because they were excluded by the majority. On top of that, they are trying to take control.

“White students should not have leadership positions in the BSU because it negates the safe space that is the BSU,” said Nadia Jones, former member of the BSU at Baylor University. “If you have someone that is white leading the charge, it kind of negates the purpose of having the BSU. No matter how ‘woke’ the white person may be, they still cannot embody the Black struggle. Or the Black experience.”

The Black Student Union on the campus of UNT was established in 2012 in order to provide a community that could serve as a safe space for Black students on campus, though they could not exclude prospective members from joining. With all due respect, it was meant to be assumed that being of African descent was the main requirement to join the BSU. Yet, due to the rules of being an organization on UNT’s campus, a student cannot be discouraged from joining based on their race.

“I feel that leadership roles in the Black Student Union should be exclusively reserved to its black students,” said Kameron Martin, UNT business computer information systems junior. “The purpose of the black student union is to promote black culture and ideas, and I feel that those efforts cannot be maximized with white people holding leadership roles within the organization.”

Enforcing the idea that we should keep the BSU strictly for Black people would be a good one. Having white people or non-Black people of color join the organization is a good thing…to a certain extent. It shows they are striving to learn or embrace a culture aside from their own.  A line must be drawn at a certain point though. If white people can hold leadership positions within the Black Student Union, then what is the point? Once again, the Black members need to feel at ease in a space created for them, by them, in the first place. Otherwise, the entire point is negated.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Peyton Jones

Peyton Jones

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