We recently reported that some students at Pitzer College placed an ad for a roommate which specifically requested a person of color. The story set off a firestorm in academia and media as some people wondered if this qualified as racism.

Two of the students involved have commented on the story. One claims it’s impossible for him to be racist and the other says she just wanted to create a safe space.

From AOL News:

Students seeking non-white roommate spark nationwide debate

For some college kids, trying to land the perfect roomie can be a complete fail. That’s why two students at Pitzer College in California decided to recruit a fourth roommate using Facebook. But, after listing “POC Only” as one of the requirements social media critics gave them a lesson on discrimination.

In case you didn’t know, “POC” stands for Person Of Color.

“I do not hate white people. Um, that’s not what I screamed in that post,” Kare Urena explained.

Since all the seeking roommates are minorities, several students said the ad was a prime example of racism.

“Racist and racism is built on prejudice and power,” added Isaac Tucker- Rasbury. “In order for me to be racist I would need to have some network or system of power working in line with whatever my goals may be.”

When school officials got word of the controversial post they claimed it was “inconsistent with the mission and values of Pitzer College.”

“What I screamed in that post was I am eagerly desperate to create a safe space on this campus in order for me to return and be successful here,” Urena said.

Try to imagine what would happen if white college students said they wanted a white roommate so they could create a safe space. I can guarantee you, the media would not be framing the story as something which sparked a national debate.

The double standard inherent in this situation is obvious to anyone with common sense. Officials at Pitzer College, who have said that this doesn’t comport with the school’s values, are actually struggling with how to handle the situation.

FOX News reports:

Pitzer College Leaders Can’t Agree If It’s OK for Students to Advertise for Non-White Roommates

So is it OK for college students to take out ads seeking non-white roommates for their off-campus house?

Well, at Pitzer College in California, it depends which senior administrator you ask.

Students at Claremont Colleges (of which Pitzer is one) advertised an opening in their off-campus home on Facebook that listed “POC” (or “person of color”) as one of the requirements to apply. The students are also resident advisors at the school. Although other students immediately pointed out that the policy was discriminatory, the RAs countered that the segregated housing “protected” students of color and created a “safe space” for members of their community.

One student of color defended the policy to Claremont’s student newspaper, saying that it meant she “didn’t have to tiptoe around fragile white feelings in a space where we just want to relax and be comfortable.”

It should come as a surprise to no one that progressive concepts like “safe spaces” provide an ability to cloak discrimination. What we’re seeing unfold on college campuses in real time is a struggle for power, not empowerment.

Featured image is a screen cap.