A video published by Young America’s Foundation (YAF) on Tuesday shows several University of Virginia (UVA) students sharing the belief that “white people need to be aware of the fact” that certain “spaces” on campus are simply not for them, and that “they need to be cognizant of the space that they’re taking up.” The students’ views fall in line with the viral video of a black student announcing that there were “just too many white people” in the school’s Multicultural Student Center.
“I think, like, white people need to be aware of the fact that it’s not a space for them, and make sure that, like, when they’re entering a space, or that space, they’re not, like, taking up the space for other, like, people of color that want to use it,” one student confusingly explains in the YAF video.
The students were reacting to a viral video that surfaced on social media last week, which showed a black student announcing that there were “just too many white people” inside the school’s new Multicultural Student Center (MSC).
“The MSC is a place for people of color, and like, multicultural students to gather,” the student added, “and so they kind of want that to be, like, a safe space for them.”
The student also acknowledged that the MSC could also effectively “ostracize” white people.
“Also, like, you don’t want [the MSC] to be exclusive and like, feel like, I guess, white people are, like, being ostracized from, like, that space,” the student said. “So, it’s kind of like a tough balancing act.”
“UVA is a predominantly white institution,” the student ultimately concluded. “So, like, spaces at UVA are made for white people, so the new spaces that, like, people of color, LGBTQ people, have, like, they should feel safe in those spaces.”
A second student featured in the video suggested that the “multicultural space” can’t be considered multicultural if white people are present, adding that white people being inside the MSC makes the center no longer “feel like a totally safe space.”
“This is a multicultural space, and if it doesn’t look multicultural, then the multicultural people at UVA feel less comfortable here,” said the student.
“It’s multicultural, so it’s designated to be a multicultural space,” he added. “It felt like a safe space, and now it does not feel like a totally safe space for people who do not feel safe outside of that space.”
“They need to be cognizant of the space that they’re taking up,” said a third student of white people. “Because this university is full of history that’s basically oppressing people of color.”
“And so, it’s very hard for people to have a space where they feel, like, safe, and the MSC is a place where we feel safe,” she added.
A fourth student expressed that, “as a white person, I don’t want to say that I should be allowed anywhere.”
“Be mindful that it is a space where students of color go to be comfortable, and to feel safe and supported, and when there’s white students that are in there doing something that could be perceived as disrespectful, I mean, you have to understand that that could be hurtful,” said a fifth student.
A sixth student featured in the video said that he is “fine” with the MSC excluding people with less melanin in their skin, adding that there already exists a plethora of areas for “white people.”
“I’m pretty much fine, like, if that space is for them, I think we should kind of agree that, like, as like a white person, I guess, just, we have more areas where you can feel comfortable, and they don’t feel comfortable in those other areas,” the student said.
UVA had reacted to the initial viral video from last week by releasing a statement clarifying that the school’s multicultural center is open to “all members of the University community.”
“I think that UVA’s statement was ridiculous,” reacted a seventh student in the YAF video. “It’s a multicultural space — white people need to be aware of the spaces that they occupy on grounds.”
“We need to all be aware of the kind of, I don’t know, the way that we occupy spaces around everything,” the student added.
“She wasn’t aggressive. She was very clear and concise with what she said, and she had a good point,” said the student of the woman who was heard in the viral video complaining about there being “too many white people” in the MSC.