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A POC Supper At UCT’s Decolonial School Is Causing White Tears

NEWS COMMENTARY

An objection to a People Of Colour (POC)-only space at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Winter Decolonial School is shifting the attention from the objection of the school to white fragility, organisers of the school said.

From 24 to 30 June, UCT will host a Decolonial Winter School on topics relating to decolonial theory and practice. Hosted by activists, scholars and community organisations, it seeks to reimagine the teaching environment outside the traditional classroom and lecture theatre.

“It’s a historical moment,” organiser and student activist Alex Hotz said in an interview with The Daily Vox. She described the school as an important commitment from the university to change and transformation.

“UCT recognised the need to create a space within the university to talk about decolonisation,” she added.

However, an hour-long POC supper break on the programme has caused controversy among white people and liberals who believe this move is unconstitutional and racist.

In a FAQ on Facebook, The Decolonial School describes the intended POC supper break as
“a space where black people can come together to communicate their experiences of the day without having to shelter white fragility.”

“There is safety in black-only spaces, resultant from the trauma and oppression of the past and present,” it said.

The space is important because the burden of decolonisation is on POC, Hotz said.

In Defence Of Safe Spaces

(Hotz prefers to refer to the political identity of those who are not white as Black people but for the purpose of this article we will use the term POC.)

However, the POC supper will not be allowed. Responding to pressure on the university to explain who was excluded with the term POC, the university said in a statement: “Entrance to UCT events may not be restricted on the basis of race. Our understanding is that the students & alumni arranging the event have been informed accordingly & have agreed that the programme wording will be changed.”

“As usual white people have monopolised the discussion and come out in fire and fury around a POC supper space when they were dead silent about – and continue to be silent about – the privileges that they have received under apartheid and continue to receive as a result of apartheid and under colonialism,” said Hotz.

The school is being bombarded with tweets stating the benefits of colonialism and accusations that it is racist with no one condemning the racism displayed.

“What this does is put attention on white people, instead of on the programme and what we’re trying to do with the decolonial school,” Hotz said. “It’s taking away from the fact that this is a historical moment for the university and particularly UCT where Rhodes Must Fall was started and ignited a question around the decolonising of universities in South Africa,” she added.

Rhodes Must Fall: The movement after the statue

Rhodes Must Fall: the university must be decolonised

“In the decolonial school we have academics deconstructing the constitution and how the constitution constructs racism to protect whiteness and not to see how racism is structural and systemic,”Hotz said. “It challenges white people who call Black people racist when we don’t have any systemic or structural power,” she added.

Hotz said she doesn’t expect anything from the university. We have a black vice-chancellor and more and more Black professors and academics, she said. “What we want is that whiteness and white supremacy does not make us as Black people pander to them at the university,” Hotz said.

Featured image by By Ra’eesa Pather
11 Comments
  1. John says

    The point is that the University is not meant to hold exclusionary meanings as the organisers of this debacle well know. This article also does not take on the fact that on the Facebook page of the so called “Decolonial School” they state the following: “We think that it is high time that white people become comfortable with being excluded”. They have since removed it but the screen grab is available on Twitter. It is this kind of racist and mindless comment that leads to the savage violence and destruction that UCT has suffered for the last 3 years at the hands of the very same people calling for “safe spaces”.

    1. william Gild says

      Well said, and spot on!

  2. Zak says

    “Safe spaceness” is literally Apartheid with a new name. Oh well, c’est la vie!

  3. Samuel Ginsberg says

    What would lily white Alex Hotz have to say if someone organized a whites only dinner? This woman really has a head filled with dead mice. Hopefully she’ll still do jail time for her arson at UCTs shackville debacle, at which she arrived with containers of petrol.

  4. JuJu says

    What a racist one sided article. What happened to balanced unbiased journalists? Looking at all the tweets regarding this gathering of racists, it is not only white people calling this a racist gathering but also black people. Making it out as if it is only white people complaining, just shows how racist you are shaazia. During apartheid, the government of that time also said they were only creating a safe space for whites!

  5. El Guest says

    If you exclude people from conversation, don’t be surprised if they retreat into the opposite direction and end up becoming fascists or terrorists. IDPOL on left will always result in INPOL on the right.

  6. Adam says

    The intolerance of the far left has turned them into recruiting sergeants for the right. This UCT winter school issues is a good illustration of that intolerance based along racial lines. As a person who considers them self to be on the left I find this very tragic and alienating.

    1. Tam says

      The revolution is eating itself alive. The Left’s attachment to ideological purity and sense of moral superiority is conducted with such religious fervour that it leads to schism, narrow-mindedness and exclusivity, with all the attributes of a cult or a sect. Let them retreat into their “safe space” redoubt, whilst the rest of us get on with making the world a better place for all.

  7. Petrus Civis says

    “White fragility”, LOL! Who is being fragile here? The snowflakes who can’t sire next to a white person at dinner without melting? Or the people who rightly call them out on their spiteful bulls**t?

    1. Petrus Civis says

      “White fragility”, LOL! Who is being fragile here? The snowflakes who can’t sit next to a white person at dinner without melting? Or the people who rightly call them out on their spiteful bulls**t?

  8. JackClaxton says

    So too, black people are dead silent about – and continue to be silent about – the privileges that they have received under apartheid and continue to receive as a result of apartheid and under colonialism.

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