Segregated Housing? Washington University Introduces Black Affinity Housing Program

The United States' history of segregated housing has been controversial for many reasons. Recently, Western Washington University reserved a floor for its 'Black Affinity Housing program'. Under this program, 40 students of color will be allowed to opt for separate housing on campus in Bellingham, Washington. Some social media users have slammed the university for being racist while others feel it's an interesting social experiment.

The news was first reported by Fox News on September 27.

Black Affinity Housing program
A screenshot of Western Washington University's dedicated page for its Black Affinity Housing program Western Washington University

According to the program website, "The program will explore and celebrate the diversity of Black and African American people and culture, with historical and contemporary context. All Western students residing in the program help foster a warm and vibrant community supporting social, personal and academic success."

Is It Segregated Housing or a Way to Enhance a Student's Experience?

"Black Affinity Housing residents, representing all diverse identities, pride themselves on fostering a sense of belonging for all residents by creating a safe environment for open, honest, and sometimes challenging dialogue," the website continues.

Under Western Washington's program, 40 students will be housed separately on the fourth floor of Alma Clark Glass Hall. The hall is named after the first Black student to attend Western Washington University in 1906. "Regular programmatic events and interactions allow students to deepen knowledge and understanding of themselves, peers, and the world," says the website.

According to the Fox News, the university hosted a webinar in April on the subject, saying the segregated living space gives students "the opportunity to live in a shared space... with others who have a shared identity, specifically a marginalized identity."

Social Media Reactions

One comment read, "Yet another step by the left to divide and conquer." Another comment read, "People of color have to see this for what it is. Dems have always been about segregation and have always been about plantation politics..WAKE UP to the real threat!"

One user wrote, "Segregation is segregation. Unfortunate, in touting diversity the state of Washington continues to demonstrate intolerance." Another wrote, "I think it's sad that black students actually want segregation, after their forebears fought so hard against it."

One user tweeted, "Dr King is rolling over in his grave. What's wrong with these wokesters?"

On the other hand, some netizens felt it is a good step. One user wrote, "There is a lot of specialized housing in college for different groups. There is housing for the LBGTQ community, for kids studying business, for athletes, & so now for African-Americans. This is not segregation this is really housing choice to be with your chosen community."

One comment read, "Perfect. Washington U is on the right track."

Another wrote, "With all due respect, 'fostering a sense of belonging for all residents by creating a safe environment for open, honest, and sometimes challenging dialogue' through segregation doesn't seem too demanding."