This article first appeared in Eagle Rising.
I am a student at a prominent western university. I don't want to mention my name or university because I don't feel safe here.
I need a safe space.
Every day as I walk to and from my classes, I feel threatened. I am the victim of countless micro and macro aggressions. For example, if people ask me where I am from, I consider that a micro aggression.
Just yesterday, I was walking through the corridors of the law school, and I saw a copy of the US Constitution on the wall outside some professor's office. (He is known around campus as a conservative. We actually have a couple of these.) I cannot tell you how victimized I was by seeing that constitution on the wall. Given what it represents to me, I felt so threatened. That professor should be fired.
I am a victim!
One area of campus I always try to avoid is the administration building. That's because they have an American flag on a flagpole outside the main door. That is always a trigger for me. I consider it to be totally exclusionary even though I was born here. It tells foreign students that they are not welcome here and should go back home. One student I know actually said in my presence that America was the land of opportunity! Since our university considers that a violation of the speech code and a micro aggression, I reported him to the vice chancellor for inclusion. I understand he has been remanded for counseling, but what about me?
I need a hug. I need a safe space.
Even when I go to the cafeteria, I am reminded of the numerous cases of cultural appropriation that go on here on campus. Yesterday, they were featuring Mexican food. How insensitive is that? I can only imagine how victimized my Latino fellow students must have felt seeing burritos and enchiladas on the menu. I told my friend Marta that she should complain to the Office of Equal Results and Inclusion on campus. She laughed at me. I am now crossing her off my list of friends. She is obviously a Tia Taco and a tool of the machine.
Then there is the issue of bathrooms on campus. I don't understand why they only have two kinds of bathrooms, one for males and one for females. Don't they understand that there are people in the world who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, pan-gender, transvestites and questioning? Why can they not have bathrooms for all of those people too?
As you know, there is an epidemic of rapes on college campuses. Statistics show that one in four coeds will be raped at least five times before she graduates. Recent cases at Duke and the University of Virginia prove that. Yet, there are some who are mere apologists for rapists insisting that these cases be taken out of the hands of the school and the student councils and handled by the police, who must observe all those legal niceties like innocent until proven guilty. Others want to blame alcohol and binge drinking parties for these incidents, which I consider an insult to women. My debating professor says that is a straw man argument.
I also care a lot about free speech on campus. The biggest issue is the Israel-Palestinian conflict, something that affects the daily lives of all of us on campus. When I hear freedom fighters like Amir Abdel Malik Ali come to campus and tell us about all those Zionist Jews like Rupert Murdoch and how much he (Ali) supports Hamas, Hizbollah and the other freedom fighters, it burns me up no end when the Zionist lobby accuses him of being anti-Semitic. Same thing when Louis Farrakhan exercises his free speech rights at places like UC Berkeley and the right-wingers from the community criticize him. They all need to be silenced. What right do they have to criticize pro-Palestinian speakers and fighters for social justice like the Honorable Mister Farrakhan? That is a macro-aggression!
I need a safe space.
You know what we need? Every university must have a safe space designated for every marginalized group; blacks, Hispanics, Asians, gays, lesbians, and Muslims (Have I left anybody out?) Nobody else would be allowed to enter these safe spaces. Safe spaces designated to People of Color should be off-limits to privileged white males.
I never realized I was a victim until I got here. Yet, somehow, I am determined to get through my four years of hell here at the university. Oh, I forgot; another two years for my masters degree and another two years for my PhD. Then a career as a professor fighting for social justice in the classroom. Hell, I guess I will be here for the rest of my life.