Facebook 'safe space' shuttered after anti-white/male statements leak
- Students slammed peers, profs., and family members who are white and/or male in a private Facebook group for students in the undergraduate Claremont college consortium “who identify as women of color.”
- The group was shut down after its members realized the Claremont Independent obtained screenshots of its discussions.
Recently, the Claremont Independent obtained screenshots from the “5C Women of Color” Facebook group. According to its description, the group—accessible only to its 1,100 approved members—is “for 5C students and alumnae who identify as women of color to reach out and serve as resources/support for one another.”
Many of the page’s most popular posts mock those who do not identify as women of color.
In response to her adoptive white father making jokes at her expense, Sarah Weiyun Otterstrom (SC ‘17) posted “I just need to get this out. I hate having white parents so much.” Another student responded by instructing Otterstrom to tell her father that “his pale ass is worthless and the sun doesn’t even like him. Talk about his receding hairline, the fact that he probably looks 20 years older than he actually is, and that he probably has a small penis.”
Additionally, Namrata Mohan (SC ‘16) stated that her family “ha[s] THE ‘white person voice’ they use when they want to make fun of white Americans.” Later, she continues to justify this “white person voice” by stating that although “it’s soooo lowkey [sic] shady,” it’s acceptable to “make fun of white Americans” because “like white people created #colonialism so i’m [sic] not mad.”
Rachel Song (PO ‘18), who posted in the group for advice on classes, stated that she was concerned about taking “PSYC141: Leading Entrepreneurial Ventures” because she is “afraid [it] is going to be a class full of white, male business bros.”
Lanna Sanchez (PO ‘19) noted that she is “kinda scared to take a politics course in general since this space is typically dominated by white men.” Sanchez added that a class taught by a “conservative POC [person of color] professor” also “raised a red flag.”
Catherine Chiang (SC ‘16)—who was elected by her peers to be the senior class speaker at Scripps College’s commencement ceremony this year and who is an acting intern at the Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment program—stated, “asian boys r [sic] a social issue,” to which other students responded “[especially] the nerdy ones who can just hide in their tech caves” and “they get all angry when it comes to how Asian men are asexualized/emasculated.”
Kristine Lee (PO ‘17), a staff member of the Pomona College Asian American Resource Center who sits on the “Production” and “Mental Health” committees there, added, “F*ck your masculinity whiny Asian cis bros this is why I only hang out with femmes.”
“As a feminine gay Asian woman,” Kristine Lee told the Independent, “I’m not interested in surrounding myself with the kind of possessive, toxic masculinity exhibited by the type of Asian American men we were discussing in the post.”
In response to these discussions, Ji In “Kit” Lee (PO ‘17), another Pomona College Asian American Resource Center staff member, wrote “mehehehe I love this group.”
Not all students of color agree with the page’s sentiments. Carlos Perrett (PZ ’18), who spoke with the Independent, expressed his disapproval of the statements made on the 5C Women of Color page.
“Facebook groups like the 5C Women of Color not only lack inclusion, but also fail to meet their purposes of creating a space of support. Instead these groups have become the perfect outlet for shaming, hostility, and discrimination,” he said.
Earlier this year, Claremont saw similar safe spaces intended to be “pro-POC, pro-black, and anti-white supremacist” established with clauses stating that “[w]hile you may want to invite a white friend or ally, to make this a safe and comfortable space for other POC, we ask that you do not.”
After the Independent reached out to members of the 5C Women of Color group for additional comment, the page was shut down.
“We found out that screen shots of our interactions were taken by people who work for the Claremont Independent, and they’re geared to write an article,” wrote Kit Lee (PO ’17). “In order to preserve the confidentiality of past conversations and healthy discussions that have occurred in this group,” she continued, “we will shut down the group … to prevent whoever is the mole from leaking more screenshots to the CI.”
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