King’s College London, a prestigious university, found itself caught up in controversy after it offered free tai chi classes aimed at combating chronic stress triggered by racism. Here’s the full story.
The Tai Chi Class
King’s College London organized free tai chi classes with the intention of addressing the chronic stress experienced by individuals due to racism and systemic oppression.
Classes Only for People of Color
A memo promoting the event specified that it was exclusively for staff who identified as black, people of color, or part of the global majority.
The latter term, as per the Cambridge Dictionary, refers to people who do not consider themselves or are not considered to be white.
The decision to restrict tai chi classes to a specific racial group caused an uproar among several white lecturers and critics.
Segregation Goes Against Diversity
They argued that such segregation goes against the principle of diversity and inclusion, raising concerns about whether the university’s approach aligns with equality laws.
Question of Violation
Sir John Hayes, chair of the Common-Sense Group of Tory MPs, even expressed his intention to inquire whether the event organizers had violated any legal statutes.
There Have Been Similar Events
Critics drew parallels between this event and a similar incident at the University of Westminster, where events were reserved exclusively for Black students during Black History Month.
It’s Segregation In Education
Dr. Neil Thin, a social anthropology lecturer at Edinburgh University, criticized such practices, comparing them to the segregation once seen in South African and American education systems.
Can They Bridge the Gap?
However, defenders of the university’s approach argued that offering specialized programs and events to underrepresented groups, such as Black students, can help bridge the gaps associated with success measures.
Is This Effective?
The central question raised by both critics and supporters of King’s College London’s event is whether segregated tai chi classes are an effective means of achieving diversity goals.
Does Exclusion Spread Division?
Some argue that such exclusion may spread divisions and hinder the goal of creating a truly inclusive campus environment.
Racism Needs to Be Addressed at Its Roots
Critics also questioned the rationale behind using tai chi classes to combat racism-induced stress, suggesting that a more inclusive approach to addressing racism at its root might be more effective.
Isn’t Banning White Racism?
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “So that must be racist in itself for banning whites from attending. Imagine if I ran an event for whites only. Perhaps that should be done to offset these non-white events anyway.”
Another User wrote, “We white people really need to understand, we are the only people who are racists, and the only color that you can never be racist of.”
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The post Segregated Tai Chi Classes at King’s College London: Fighting Racism or Fostering Division? first appeared on Mama Say What?!
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.