Freedom of association


First, let me be clear that I don't know very much about what the legal status of "freedom of association" is.
Basically, my understanding is that organizations that are "public accommodations" cannot discriminate.
But what about private clubs, or organizations?
For example, we have the NAACP opposing a white woman claiming to be black as a chapter president.
I see no problem with their position:
they can establish their own membership standards.

More recently, on 2015-11-02 various news organizations ran stories claiming that
at a party held by a Yale fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon,
a fraternity brother (allegedly) told woman of color trying to enter the party
that is was on a "white girls only" basis.
(See examples of such stories below.)
Naturally, many people are appalled by that, if it is true.
The charge is: racism.

My reaction is rather different.
In the first place, if racism is defined to be attitudes that one race is superior to another,
than merely trying to restrict entry to a party has nothing to do with that definition.

But of course racism is often used more broadly,
to mean any actions determined by the race of an individual.
So by that definition, the action mentioned above would be racism.

But my (doubtless radioactive, in the eyes of some) reaction is still: So what?
Can't people restrict who they party with to people of one race?
What's so wrong with that?

Doubtless many will think my idea is atrocious, or worth,
but I hope Blogger will at least allow me to express my opinion
(controversial as it may be).

SAE denies charges of racism
by Jon Victor & Joey Ye
Yale Daily News, 2015-11-02

Yale’s chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has denied allegations that brothers racially discriminated against students of color during a party held Friday at the fraternity’s off-campus house.

On Oct. 31, the day after the party in question, Neema Githere ’18 posted a status on her personal Facebook profile recounting the experience of a group of women of color which she said were denied entrance to SAE on Friday on the basis of race. Though Githere was not part of that group herself and was not in attendance Friday, she noted in the post that a similar incident had happened to her last year and invited others who had been discriminated against by SAE to comment with their stories. Since it was published, her post has received over 600 likes and almost 100 shares.

“I’d just like to take a moment to give a shoutout to the member of Yale’s SAE chapter who turned away a group of girls from their party last night, explaining that admittance was on a ‘White Girls Only’ basis,” her post read.


Students accuse Yale SAE fraternity brother of saying ‘white girls only’ at party door
By Susan Svrluga
Washington Post, 2015-11-02

A Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother at Yale turned dark-skinned students away from a party this weekend, telling them, “No, we’re only looking for white girls,” according to a student who said she witnessed him standing on the front steps and blocking a group from entering.

Those girls looked startled and walked away, said Sofia Petros-Gouin, a Columbia freshman who was visiting friends at Yale over the weekend. She described a stairway crowded with people trying to get into the Halloween party, and the fraternity brother, who was white, repeatedly saying, “White girls only,” and letting only blond women enter.


More stories on the subject of restrictions to freedom of association:

Call me clueless,
but if black students, Jewish students, women students, you-name-it students
can form associations,
why can't white students?
Isn't that, like, equality? Equal rights?
But some differ:

‘White Student Union’ challenges Black Lives Matter at University of Illinois
By Justin Wm. Moyer
Washington Post "Morning Mix", 2015-11-20

A Facebook page ostensibly created for an audience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign called “Illini White Students Union” has drawn fire after it characterized the national Black Lives Matter movement as “terrorism.”

Created Wednesday after a protest sympathetic to Black Lives Matter, the page declared itself “for white students of University of Illinois to be able to form a community and discuss our own issues as well as be able to organize against the terrorism we have been facing from Black Lives Matter activists on campus,” as the Daily Illini reported.

The page did not last long in its original incarnation, but was taken down after three hours. It has since been revived here.

“We recognize the right to free speech, and we encourage you to exercise that right when you see examples of racism, discrimination or intimidation on our campus,” Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson, who called the page “extremely disturbing,” wrote in a message Thursday to the student body.

[Just who is intimidating whom?
Sounds to me like the PC university administrators are intimidating some good white folk.

Me, I'm proud to be white,
proud of the glorious heritage, legacy, and achievements of the white race
(that's my view, anyhow).]


More than 30 purported ‘White Student Unions’ pop up across the country
By Yanan Wang
Washington Post "Morning Mix", 2015-11-24


NYU spokesman Matt Nagel said in a statement to NYULocal that
the organization was never registered at the university and that
the Facebook page was using the school’s logo illegally and without permission.

“We reject — and we call on others reject —
efforts such as this to derail or distort candid, thoughtful discourse on race,”
Nagel said.

[Excuse me,
but how do such web pages qualify as an effort to
"derail or distort candid, thoughtful discourse on race"?
Is only the politically correct point of view to be considered "thoughtful"?
Do the PC have a monopoly on "thoughtfulness"?]


‘White Student Union’ Groups Set Off Concerns at Campuses
New York Times, 2015-11-25

The emergence of “White Student Union” Facebook groups claiming links to more than 30 universities has caused alarm among students and education officials, although the authenticity of many of the pages is being questioned.

None of the groups have been sanctioned by the universities, and some, including those claiming affiliation with Princeton, the University of California, Berkeley, and Penn State, were removed after university officials complained to Facebook.

Berkeley’s chancellor, Nicholas B. Dirks, said in a statement that
the group was
“clearly intended to fuel conflict and provocation
rather than to foster a serious and constructive dialogue among students about issues of race.”

Universities have long stated their goal of raising provocative ideas.
So the provocativeness, by itself, cannot be used as a criticism.
"Fueling conflict"?
Surely many of the core tenets of political correctness themselves
"fuel conflict and provocation".
But evidently some "fueling of conflict and provocation" is okay,
but others isn't.

I thought the very idea of "university" was to promote a wide range of viewpoints.]

The Facebook groups insist that they represent the interests of white students,
but also appear to be offering a counterpoint to university organizations dedicated to minority issues.

Several of the pages introduced their objectives with identical language:

“We unapologetically provide a safe space for white students to air their true feelings about the future of our nation, discuss and reflect on the lessons laid down for us by our great European writers, philosophers, and artists, and develop a positive program to restore the pioneering will and greatness of our unique and virtuous people.”

Whether the Facebook groups were started by students at the universities or by an outside group seeking to stir up debate is unclear. The first one to gain attention, the “Illini White Student Union,” surfaced on Nov. 18, hours after a black student solidarity rally at the University of Illinois, according to The Daily Illini. The page was removed after university officials complained.

In the days that followed, The Daily Stormer, a source of neo-Nazi commentary, and users of the 8chan message board discussed efforts to create similar groups at other universities they were not attending, according to several reports.

Outsiders appear to be responsible for at least some of the groups, although it’s unclear if some students could have been inspired by the Illinois group and the attention that followed to create groups at their own universities. Attempts by local news media to identify administrators of the pages have been unsuccessful. A student claiming to be the administrator of the “NYU White Student Union” told The Tab, a publication aimed at young people, that personal safety was a concern.

The Facebook groups have set off heated arguments over racial issues as they seek to draw attention to the perceived struggles of white people and play down the concerns of minority groups.

The Illinois group framed its mission in relation to rising protests across the country over police conduct, contending that white students needed to “organize against the terrorism we have been facing from Black Lives Matter activists on campus.”

Such sentiments have attracted a number of supporters, but also plenty of detractors.

“Perhaps you should attend some more classes and try to learn something about white privilege, systemic racism, and how you’ve actually NEVER been denied a ‘safe space’ in the history of the world,” one commenter wrote on the University of Central Florida group’s page.