“Oh so now Russians are ‘white?’”
Well we weren't “Aryan” enough for the Germans and apparently we are too white for “black activists.” I am beginning to feel “excluded” and even “marginalised” by all these micro-aggressions!
But true story:
A few years ago I was feeling a little mischievous after a spate of progressivist pity parties on campus. They were demanding safe spaces for all kinds of different groups (and getting them.) I went to administration and requested a “safe space” for Russians on campus. The administrator and “officer for inclusiveness and equality” (yes; that really is a thing) was a girl in her twenties and very very serious about her progressive values. She was out to save the world.
She became very nervous and obviously very concerned about “triggering” me. She asked me how I envisioned this safe space. I said it would be a room with Russian winter scenes on the wall and we could listen to Tchaikovsky, practise our ballet and Cossack dancing and eat caviare; that sort of thing. We could also have Russian hugs. “What’s a Russian hug,” she asked. “You wouldn’t understand because you’re not Russian” I explained. “It is difficult to explain our lived experiences to a non Russian.”
But I asked her what would happen if I overheard someone saying something I didn’t like and I had no safe space to retreat to; did she want to be responsible for that kind of trauma inflicted on a member of staff.
She apologised nervously and said she understood, and then reminded me that as far as she knew, I was the only Russian member of staff. I pointed out that that made me a member of the smallest minority on campus and therefore the most marginalised, and so the Russian safe space should be of the highest priority. I also suggested that the signs around campus, which are in English and Irish, should also be in Russian, because not having them in Russian often made me feel quite excluded and marginalised. She said she would see what she could do. But she never got back to me.
What a racist!
The sad part is that that girl had probably been an intelligent, thinking person before she had arrived at university.