I recommend reading up on systemic inequality, but I will give you a very short reasoning for what is my opinion. I want to preface this by saying this opinion represents no one else’s but my own. I am not a Black Lives Matter activist (I am a supporter), neither am I black.
America’s institutions were based upon the oppression of black people and were created for white people. Western society was created for white people, not for people of color, which is why we need safe spaces.
It’s not the physical act of white students coming together, that itself is not problematic. It’s using the term “safe space;”white people make up the majority of faculty, student bodies and governments, and the systems that our country are built on are made for white people. Student unions exist for minorities so they can retain their culture and identity in white society. White student unions are inherently racist because white people have the most privilege in a system made for white people. A “white” student union is different from Australian, European, etc where their culture/ethnicity is not mainstream culture/ethnicity. I believe these groups should exist. Not groups based solely on your skin color being white. It makes sense to have a black student union because many African Americans cannot trace their ancestry since their ancestors were brought here through slavery and that information was lost, and because black people as a whole are systemically oppressed.
Having a white student union is like having an “Able-Bodied Student Union” or a “Straight Student Union,” see how those are problematic?
White people should not be denied the right to organize; that is not the intent. They shouldn’t be allowed to organize on only the basis of their skin color. A lot of political movements have been helped with white people in positions of power. No one is saying white people shouldn’t have a voice. White people should participate in discussing race issues along with people of color.
And I agree — I personally do not endorse behavior that alienates allies from a cause. But the actions of a few by no means represent a movement as a whole. So please don’t generalize an entire movement by the actions of a handful of students. In my experience, when your whole life you have been discriminated against based on your ethnicity, it’s difficult not to be angry and passionate about demanding change. You expressed feeling that your rights are being infringed upon now because of recent happenings related to Black Lives Matter. Imagine feeling that way your whole life.
My recommendation: Instead of creating a safe space for white people we need to work on having these groups become more open to allyship rather than further alienating people across ethnic backgrounds, which having a white student union would do.