Georgetown Students Host Community Dialogue on Racism, Ask White Allies Not to Attend

"For the safety of students of color"


Student-activists at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., recently hosted a community dialogue on racism. White students—even those who consider themselves "allies" to the cause—were asked not to attend, out of concern their mere presence would make students of color feel unsafe.

The event was hosted by Georgetown United Against Police Aggression, which is currently pushing back against conservative students' efforts to convince the administration to arm its police, who are real commissioned officers, even though Georgetown is a private school. The activists say armed officers would pose an increased risk for students of color, who have a disproportionate number of interactions with police.

"All of us know someone who has been targeted," the organizers of the event wrote on Facebook. "Let's do something about it." This message also said that "for the safety of students of color, allies are not welcome to attend this preliminary dialogue."

I'm not sure whether Georgetown police should carry guns, and I certainly appreciate these activists' concern that cops are more likely to target students of color. The students who want armed officers asserted to Campus Reform that this is necessary for campus safety in the event of a mass shooting, but of course we shouldn't craft policy around unlikely, worst-case scenarios if it will routinely undermine civil rights.

That said, the activists protesting racism within law enforcement would probably do a better job convincing people of the soundness of their position if they would stop pretending white allies pose some special threat—an idea that sounds both ridiculous and a tad racist itself.