Woke segregationism

Since when is banning white people from meetings anti-racist?

Charlie Peters


In a stunning act of cognitive dissonance, Sheffield University Students’ Union has banned white students from attending anti-racist meetings, according to a report in the Tab.

The union says this is part of its shift from ‘a non-racist to an actively anti-racist’ stance. It is hosting two focus groups on ‘how we can create an anti-racist students’ union’, and has told students on the sign-up form that it ‘really values hearing your experiences and ideas’.

But just a few paragraphs under that commitment, it says: ‘Please note that these sessions are only open to black and minority ethnic (BME) students.’ Apparently, being actively anti-racist means banning certain racial groups from getting involved in anti-racism. Who knew?

The Sheffield white-student ban comes after students at Edinburgh University caused outrage for hosting an anti-racism event called ‘Resisting Whiteness’. The promotional material for the gathering said: ‘We will not be giving the microphone to white people during the Q&As, not because we don’t think white people have anything to offer to the discussion but because we want to amplify the voices of people of colour.’

I have had the great displeasure of encountering these sorts before during my four years of service in opposition to student lunacy at Edinburgh University. So I can have a guess as to the motivations for this ‘ban a race to solve racism’ move.

Today, some anti-racists reject the common definition of racism as prejudice or discrimination aimed at someone on the basis of their race. This understanding of racism – held by ordinary people and anti-racists worldwide – is far too simple, sensible and accurate for these enlightened souls. Instead, they delve deep into their intersectional lexicons to claim that racism is based on the combination of ‘prejudice and power’.

Consequently, they argue, certain people cannot be racist to other people if they have ‘less power’ than them. Asking for a clear hierarchy of racial groups according to their ‘power’ (sounds a bit racist, doesn’t it?) always proves fruitless, so we’re left in the dark to work out who exactly can be discriminatory to who on the basis of their race. But generally speaking, it is okay to be nasty to white people (not racism), but not okay to be nasty to every other racial group (racism).

With that brief explainer out of the way, let’s dive into why it is a reprehensible stance that makes a mockery of anti-racism and serves no purpose other than to divide racial groups and hinder progress.

Tackling racism is best solved through a diversity of voices. More speech is always better than less, even if the speaker doesn’t belong to a typically targeted racial group.

These petty commissars at Sheffield are essentially arguing that if you are white, you are incapable of being ‘actively anti-racist’ because you have not experienced racism. If you haven’t felt the pain, you can’t administer the cure. This is as stupid as refusing to be treated by a doctor unless he himself has had the same illness that afflicts you.

It is a misanthropic view that suggests humans cannot relate to one another or understand the plight of their fellow man and are therefore in no position to offer up solutions. Racism is a scourge in our society. To defeat it, we need to expand the dialogue and hear from more people, regardless of their race.

Moreover, arguing that the presence of ‘white voices’ belittles or silences ethnic minorities is as patronising as it is untrue. These activists claim to be anti-racist. But their policy of racial exclusion is not only racist by definition – it also suggests that ethnic minorities are so incapable that they need extra protection to be heard in a students’ union. That minorities need to be coddled or kept away from white people in order to succeed is a common aspect of woke thinking, and the logic behind it is the same as that used by the old racists to justify segregation. They might dress it up as progressive, but it is nothing of the sort.

White people do not have a monopoly on talking over people or using the heckler’s veto. This behaviour is not unique to one group. To promote healthier discussion, organisers should hold all people, regardless of their race, to the same basic standards of mutual respect. If they manage that, Sheffield students might benefit from more useful anti-racist suggestions. Their censorship and racialist thinking will only make it harder for them to achieve their aims.

Charlie Peters is a writer.

Picture by: Sheffield Students’ Union, published under a creative commons licence.

Let’s cancel cancel culture

Free speech is under attack from all sides – from illiberal laws, from a stifling climate of conformity, and from a powerful, prevailing fear of being outed as a heretic online, in the workplace, or even among friends, for uttering a dissenting thought. This is why we at spiked are stepping up our fight for speech, expanding our output and remaking the case for this most foundational liberty. But to do that we need your help. spiked – unlike so many things these days – is free. We rely on our loyal readers to fund our journalism. So if you want to support us, please do consider becoming a regular donor. Even £5 per month can be a huge help. You can find out more and sign up here. Thank you! And keep speaking freely.

Donate now

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Joseph Brennan

7th November 2019 at 12:42 am

What white person in his right mind would ever want to be around these idiots

Neil Thin

20th October 2019 at 10:44 pm

A big ‘thank you’ from Edinburgh, Charlie, we must keep challenging this kind of race-baitery, and recommending more constructive alternatives. Your final point about ‘basic standards of mutual respect’ is the real heart of the matter. I’ve been at the University of Edinburgh 34 years. I was unutterably sad to see this ugly turn of events, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

Initially I was surprised and disappointed by the worrying silence from most of my colleagues. I sincerely hope that most of this shyness is not because people approve of racial segregation, but because they either didn’t notice or just prefer not to give the idiots the oxygen of publicity.

Then last week came a public letter confirming that lots of Edinburgh lecturers thought racial segregation, racial disparagement, and racial discrimination on campus are just fine by them, so long as it’s all done in the name of anti-racism. I’ve written to all those I know, and not a single one has conceded there was anything wrong with this event.

These people who claim to promote ‘anti-racism’ in this obviously unacceptable way have scored a spectacular own goal. At some level of their consciousness they must know they are deeply wrong. But they seem to have fallen victim to a collective cult-like form of spiteful compensatory egalitarianism. Who knows where this will lead.

James C

15th October 2019 at 1:39 am

The University of Leicester recently held a vote for the head of diversity where white straight males were banned from voting.

Linda Payne

13th October 2019 at 4:19 pm

Anti white racism has been going on in the public sector for nearly two decades; people have been sacked for trumpted up accusations, I’m surprised so many in the media have missed this

Christopher Tyson

12th October 2019 at 4:52 pm

WH Auden wrote ‘I and the public know /What all schoolchildren learn/Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return’. It can go either way, the oppressed can become empathetic and opposed to oppression in all forms or they can become vindictive and oppressive themselves. In the 1960, 70s and 80s petty racism resonated, being black it seemed that the whole world was against you; police, your boss, your neighbours, the government, the state, trade unions, international capitalism and imperialism. But even then there were white people who were anti-racist; in small personal ways, in political ways and in ways that involved personal risk. Today racism does not have the same resonance. Not so much prejudice plus power, more etiquette about what we can or can’t say or how we should behave. Like the etiquette of old, designed to alienate and expose the outsider, who doesn’t know which spoon to use for soup. Today the rules change in secret and mysterious ways, the right thing today is the wrong thing tomorrow. Racism puts you in a box, it defines you by your colour, it makes assumptions about you on this basis, your race becomes the most important thing about you, anti-racism is now doing this too.

Andrew Leonard

13th October 2019 at 12:38 am

You’re right – both racism and anti-racism puts people in a box.
However, the people in these boxes tend to vote in a predictable way.
There is now a box for Caucasian voters, and many of them are getting into that box (this is a specific case with a name; Populism).

Two-thirds of Asian-Americans vote Democrat. Harvard University discriminates against Asians, for which it has been rightly criticised. But there is another way of looking at it; a group that acts in a unitary manner, will be regarded and treated as a unit.

Think of it this way; ethnic voting blocks are made up of people that do not differentiate themselves politically – so why should anyone or any group with a political outlook, treat these people as individuals, and apply the usual rules of fairness?

Identity politics is a scourge on society. However, we need to start asking why so many people are voting based on their identity – that is, based on immutable characteristics. Which one of these is the chicken, and which is the egg?

For me, the underlying problem is not antisocial political philosophy, rather it is a lack of constitutional limits on taxing and spending. If tax revenue as a proportion of GDP was limited to a level well below current liberal democracy levels, political parties would be unable to compete by making electoral bribes, and on the other hand there would be no political incentive to drop spending below the maximum level. Consequently voters would be far less inclined to associate welfare, health and education spending with one of the major parties, and that party would be far less inclined to push identity politics, and the other major party would be far less inclined to follow suit.

Gareth Edward KING

12th October 2019 at 1:26 pm

Re. ‘Robust humouristic-type’ answer. Absolutely. Application forms and their general silliness about sexuality, for example, Are you/Would you define yourself as…?/If you are (cis) male and regard yourself as having a penis, where do you stick it? Please indicate as appropriate….

Ven Oods

12th October 2019 at 11:02 am

Sadly, this sort of thing just underlines that nowadays far too many go to university who don’t belong there.
The upgrading of polytechnics etc was a great wheeze for the educationalists, but the expansion has dumbed down HE in the UK. Why anyone would boast about having a degree from some of these ‘outlets’ defies understanding.

John B

12th October 2019 at 9:53 am

Sadly the long march through the institutions is now complete.

Maybe we didn’t notice but the MSM, academia, public sector, quangos and schools have all fallen to the anarchic left and they have decided to dismantle our culture and replace it with their own totalitarianism and anyone who dares to speak out is labelled as appropriate. Sad to see how ordinary conservatives are now mostly unwilling to speak out.

A Game

11th October 2019 at 8:45 pm

Who was it in one of the BON shows who observed that anti racism is just wanting an inversion of the traditional power structure? Most people already thought it… but credit to the interviewee putting it on the record.
Anti racism is now reverse supremacy. No request for equality. Its been encouraged and fostered and now, well… here we are.
If the white students they are wanting to bar are the same type as what Katherine Birbal Singh described picketing her efforts, the same ones assaulting and abusing Andy Ngo… I wouldn’t want them getting up, all woke and obnoxious, either. Insufferable a$$holes they are.

The true tragedy here, is that the white students might start to step away from the student politics, along with the Christian students, the Asian students, and focus on their studies. And get better marks, and be more employable… whilst the BME students think THIS is the end game. High on the power handed to them to be racist and domineering… and losing sight of what really matters.
Its almost like a plan, isn’t it? Woke whities have decreed that reverse racism is a wonderful thing… now the indoctrinated are dictating the score, in the manner they have been encouraged to do… and will be left behind in the doing. (Studying their useless subjects in their useless degrees.)
Racism is racism, no matter what shroud its wrapped in. It comes from the same place. Hatred. Suspicion. Maybe fear. I’ve never understood the reversal on Martin Luther King’s stance. Never.

Michael Lynch

11th October 2019 at 8:25 pm

You know, as a person from Irish descent, I really couldn’t bear to be patronized in this way. It’s much easier to let people call you names so you can identify who to avoid rather than be treated as a perennial victim. They can never be sure of, or ever hope to enjoy, genuine success in life. Without rising to the challenges of adversity there can be no accomplishment of value. How sad an existence.

james farrell

11th October 2019 at 7:53 pm

Fast forward 10 years from now when they are still without a decent job, they will then blame the “white power structure” for keeping them down. All the while with normal social behaviors they would have made wonderful connections with new people who may have led them to successful employment. Good luck to all the future barista’s

Joseph Bogman

11th October 2019 at 7:06 pm

This is the kind of attitude that guarantees an increase in, I wouldn’t necessarily call it racism, bigotry and aversion to these sorts of colored #woke trash and their equally execrable nutless white allies. There problems aren’t due to racism, but to the contrary, these sorts of colleges going out of their way to admit mentally and morally subpar “students” based on their skin color. These “students” inside know they are academically inferior and they use such racist rallies to lash out at their betters and assume an air of unearned moral superiority of the victim.

Jerry Owen

11th October 2019 at 5:03 pm

Racism is negligible in this country.
They are fighting a battle that is already won.
Interesting that to the left power and privilege comes from skin colour and not capitalist filthy money like it used to.
The shifting sands of the prostitute left becomes more hilarious by the day.

Joseph Bogman

11th October 2019 at 7:20 pm

Racism to these creeps is when they act like complete scumbags then getting flack for it

Puddy Cat

11th October 2019 at 4:59 pm

Racist and segregationalist by the looks of things. It infantalises coloured people to think that they have to be patronised in this way. Sooner or later the people so represented are going to have to interact with the real world, that one they chose to live in. This business of creating ghettos has been tried before. Making exceptions is a dangerous trade as was proven by the sex scandal in Rochdale. People overly endowed with protection, especially the stupid ones, will start to feel themselves invulnerable. The efforts to make a place for coloured people is quite commendable but seems to be a matter that invests overly in people with negro origins. So many other races in our polyglot society seem to get on with whatever they do. It may be that making this marked exception does make trouble for the protected in that they will lose the capacity to walk away from any taunting or other irrational behaviour they may encounter to proclaim some unwritten right or favour within the establishment that the nutters they are coming up against will not recognise and probably resent that endowment themselves all the more. Before the influx of foreign elements here we had our own racial problems based on our own tribes. To think that name calling and fight provoking is something to do with ethnicity is a joke, it has always been around.

Life Coach

11th October 2019 at 3:19 pm

I applied to Sheffield back in 1982. They made the mistake of showing me round before the interview. I thought ‘this place is a shithole’. Still seems to be the case.

H McLean

11th October 2019 at 2:10 pm

The ONLY way to not be racist is to strive in life to treat people with the same degree of respect and openness regardless of their race. Anything else falls short.

These students are for the most part unwitting victims but not in the way they might expect. They have been programmed by academia to destroy racism by being racist, yet they’re too intoxicated on neoMarxist groupthink to realise their actions are destructive and harmful to everyone, including themselves.

Education needs a radical overhaul to root out the poison that is political correctness and identity politics. Defund, defund, defund!

Mister Joshua

11th October 2019 at 10:15 pm

Yes. We should have been defunding the cesspools 50 years ago.

Make it an issue. Write you MP, you congressman, whatever you have, and DEMAND that these one-party state campuses be defunded.

We all owe it to our countries and our civilization.

Mark Lambert

11th October 2019 at 11:41 am

Where is David Lammy on this one? (and the other one in Edinburgh?).

It reminds me of a Question Time episode where a white bloke in the audience dared to say that the UK is one of the least racist countries. Cue a non-white female audience member berate him for not knowing what he’s talking about because he is white. Another audience member said that she was being racist, but she just didn’t understand.

Christopher Tyson

11th October 2019 at 11:33 am

Sitting around somewhere having a coffee, I picked up some leaflet, like you do about some festival or other, and Herbie Flowers was playing, the name was familiar but I couldn’t quite remember from where. Herbie Flowers is a session bass player extraordinaire, he’s played with everyone from David Bowie to David Essex. Flowers was an original member of the band Blue Mink. Their greatest hit ‘melting pot’ was a paean to a multi-cultural, post racial world, churning out ‘coffee coloured people by the score’ albeit a nightmare for some. The song has recently run into problems, a reference to Chinese people that some may find offensive, you can’t do right for doing wrong. Flowers created the bass line for the Lou Reed classic ‘walk on the wild side’ it featured on an advert lately, the famous hock on the original was ‘an the coloured girls go, doop da doop etc’ In the new version whoever is going ‘doop da doop’ it’s not the coloured girls for sure.
WH Auden much quoted line ‘I and the public know /What all schoolchildren learn/Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return’. I remember some 1970s detective show, a Jewish lawyer of detective, comes to the defence of an accused or victimised black person, he has empathy he says ‘there are a lot of people not to keen on Jews either’. It can go either way, the oppressed can become empathetic and opposed to oppression in all forms or they can become vindictive and oppressive themselves. In the 1960, 70s and 80s. Petty racism resonated, being black it seemed that the whole world was against you, police, your neighbours, the government, the state, trade unions, international capitalism and imperialism, but it has to be said and we don’t say it enough a lot of white people were anti-racist even then in small personal ways, in political ways and in ways that involved personal risk. Today racism does not have the same resonance. Not so much prejudice plus power, more etiquette about what we can or can’t say or how we should behave. Like the etiquette of old, designed to alienate and expose the outsider, who does know which spoon to use for soup, today the rules change in secret and mysterious ways, you say ‘coloured’ instead of ‘people of colour’ and you stand exposed and condemned. Racism puts you in a box, it defines you by your colour, it makes assumptions about you on this basis, your race becomes the most important thing about you, anti-racism is now doing this. I have often argued that anti-racism and black radicalism is now oppressing black people, and narrowing the range and possibilities of what a black person can be. Black radicalism has always had its chauvinistic elements, can it be racist? I think that it is moving in that direction, I think that the anti-white attitudes are resembling racism. Students are usually conservative people, some let off a bit of steam for a year or two then settle down to being good bourgeoises, identity politics is now the established ideology, and student who buy into it are just going with the flow. Going for a job interview thirty years ago and mouthing off about gay rights, feminism, and black radicalism, you wouldn’t do it, today HR would have policies on these things and you would be assumed to support these things.

Martin Bishop

11th October 2019 at 11:03 am

So what does the law say with regards to race discrimination? Seems like it would be an easy legal battle to win. Are there any example of anyone challenging it legally?

Ed Turnbull

11th October 2019 at 9:44 am

So, let me get this straight, the most effective way to combat racism…is by being racist. Ok, yeah, got it. Y’know I was always told that apartheid was bad (doubleplusbad in fact), but I guess it’s not. Does this mean we can expect to see Hendrik Verwoerd rehabilitated into the polite discourse any time soon?

steve moxon

11th October 2019 at 8:43 am

The University of Sheffield Students’ Union has long been ‘identity politics’ totalitarian. It even bans individuals from the open mic that a student society there puts on — without consulting anybody running it, attending it, or who perform there. A bunch of useless anti-democratic, free speech deniers.

steve moxon

11th October 2019 at 8:41 am

The University of Sheffield Students’ Union has long been ‘PC’-fascism central. It even bans local individuals from the open mic that a student society there puts on — without consulting anybody running it, attending it, or who perform there. A bunch of useless anti-democratic, frees speech denying totalitarian tossers.

Life Coach

11th October 2019 at 8:29 am

Trying to debate these idiots using logic, reason and evidence is a waste of time just like trying to debate feminists – they just aren’t listening. Their minds are made up – it’s like religion – resistant to evidence and logic.

Cathal Murphy

11th October 2019 at 8:10 am

What if I identify as Black?

Jim Lawrie

11th October 2019 at 9:17 am

That’ll be racial appropriation.

Ed Turnbull

11th October 2019 at 9:36 am

But would it be ‘racial appropriation’ though? You can be ‘trans-racial’ these days. Apparently. Just ask Rachel Dolezal.

How long will it be before this insanity progresses to the point where you can be *trans-species* and no one bats an eyelid (apart from the rational majority whom the elites studiously ignore)? I think we may already be there, after all some social media platforms allow one to identify as ‘otherkin’ i.e. non-human.

The only way to fight this nonsense is through robust mockery: whenever I’m answering a question on ‘gender identity’ or ‘ethic identity’ I always choose the ‘Other’ option and specify that I’m Great Cthulhu. After all, is it any less valid than some *genetic* male claiming to be a woman? Anyone who disputes my identity of the most well known Great Old One is clearly a bigot, and ought to fall to their puny mortal knees and worship me lest I smite their pathetic planet from the plane of existence.

Jane 70

11th October 2019 at 10:44 am

You might be accused of being a reversed coconut

Andrew Best

11th October 2019 at 7:37 am

You do not create equality by making people unequal
These students are racists to white people and when/if they have to live in the real world will be laughed at and dismissed for being idiots

Jim Lawrie

11th October 2019 at 10:32 am

Racism is declared to be everywhere. Equality of opportunity does not create equality of outcome because given the freedom to do so, pursue their own chosen goals, not the prescriptions of arrogant theorists who cannot accept that their theories have been proven wrong. Racism is still everywhere. So discrimination, labelled affirmative action, is deemed necessary. When that does not work, racism is still everywhere. What is wrong, we are then told, isn’t their theory, but the inputs. It is then discovered that white people are innately racist, white men sexist etc …

Real exclusion, based on sex and race, becomes the solution to an imaginary exclusion based on sex and race, thus engendering actual hostility in white men who were not that way to start with. This induced enemity is trumpeted as proof that the theory was right all along. So more attacks are needed. White men defending themselves are not seen as exercising their right to do so, but as more evidence that they must be curtailed. The problem comes when white men, now identifying as a group, start to go on the offensive.

Jane 70

11th October 2019 at 10:42 am

Which I’m sure they soon will, driven by #metoo and accusations of bigotry, undeserved privilege , harassment, etc: take your pick of available transgressions against the woke canon of acceptable behaviour.

We are now faced with the contorted mental processes which make the facts fit the theory-or whichever theoretical construct happens to be on the woke to-do list of the day; i can’t keep up with it all.

How much more divided,alienated, frustrated and aghast at what is spreading unopposed do we have to become before it all blows up ?

Philip Humphrey

11th October 2019 at 7:11 am

It definitely seems to be forming a pattern. We have people who call themselves anti racist who are racist through and through, and we have people who call themselves liberals who are anti free speech and illiberal to their bones. We have people who call themselves socialists who despise the working class, particularly the white working class. Everything with the left is twisted, particularly on campus.
What I find most worrying on this is the outright abandonment of logic and coherent thinking, the greatest invention of the west and judeo-Christianity over the 3000 years or so. If our students, supposedly the most intelligent, have resorted to magical thinking based on emotions, academia is in serious trouble.

Dominic Straiton

11th October 2019 at 7:08 am

The dreaming spires of Sheffield. That bastion of learning. If you are stupid enough to send your own children to one of these indoctrination centres you are ensuring only, that they have a life of anger and failure.

Jonathan Andrews

11th October 2019 at 7:34 am

My university (84-7). This breaks my heart. There was a bit of leftie politics then but I think most of us were there to learn about sums or stories or biology or whatever.

Jane 70

11th October 2019 at 7:04 am

The Great Awokening continues its stultification of supposedly intelligent students.

So, broadly speaking, it’s not alright to be white, but then what about the various subcategories of white ‘victims’?

Depending on which category of victimhood one belongs to, at any given time- and this can change rapidly depending on twitter criteria -would one still be classed as a white oppressor, worthy of exclusion and banishment from the convocations of the right on and enlightened?

White disabled people for example?

I won’t list any more,as the Spiked mod bot will suspend the comment.

Mister Joshua

11th October 2019 at 10:17 pm

Yes. I have no doubt that even the Sp!ked free speech warriors live in terror of the political correctness Nazis, and to be fair, so too does every other ostensibly “free speech” website.

It’s a testament to how far we’ve sunk.

Right Now

11th October 2019 at 5:45 am

Re “Instead, they . . . claim that racism is based on the combination of ‘prejudice and power’ ” :

Isn’t that (bad faith) trick easily outmaneuvered? If we were to accept (with a sigh) their definition we simply coin a new word: “raycism” (pronounced “racism”). The meaning of raycism is the current common-sense understanding of racism as prejudice or discrimination aimed at someone on the basis of their race *regardless* of the status of the racial group.
We could then say : “South Africa has a serious problem with anti-white raycism”.

Mark Bretherton

11th October 2019 at 2:16 pm

No. We have to stand firm on language and call out their bulls#it. By all means call THEIR definition at ‘Raycism’ (or maybe the babytalk way, ‘waycism’), but the correct definition MUST remain the common sense one.

jessica christon

12th October 2019 at 9:29 am

It’s worse than that, I think. It now means anything at all that a someone from a minority group (or their supporters) doesn’t like; it’s racist, even when a white person in the same context is treated in exactly the same way (Shamima Begum/Jihadi Jack comes to mind).

That’s why the word hyperinflated and lost it’s value so quickly to the point where it’s virtually meaningless now, because when everyone/everything is racist, no-one/nothing is racist.

Mister Joshua

11th October 2019 at 2:41 am

Idiots! All this is going to do is push white people into anti-minority camps, people who otherwise wouldn’t have gone there. Identity politics is about nothing more than racial and sexual compartmentalizing. It’s hostile and warlike by its very nature.

I can’t believe the high priests of political correctness don’t know or understand this. The stupid kids going along with this, OK, they’re just stupid kids, and god willing some day they’ll grow up. As for their professors, they are just pure evil.

Andrew Leonard

11th October 2019 at 1:33 am

This sort of nonsense will continue until a critical mass of the public withdraws its support for public education.
It is precisely owing to the fact that this would be a very difficult thing for a large majority of the public to do, that these sort of ideological trends exist.
Public education offers a valuable product to its consumers, at below market prices. This results in deterministic demand. In an environment of deterministic demand, those on the supply side have the capacity to inject their own agendas into the goods and services on offer. This is possible because sub-market prices imply that consumers would be willing to pay more for the same thing. Consequently, the loss of quality due to the injection of private agendas is implicitly tolerated, as an acceptable trade-off.
This should be the starting point for analysing the politicisation of education, not the political ideologies themselves.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to comment. Log in or Register now.

Deplorables — a spiked film