Hazen, Pierson Argue Review Edit
To the Editor:
We are writing in protest of the Feb. 23 editorial, “Male Dorms Viable.” While we are not inherently opposed to an all-male dorm, we disagree with some of the arguments being made.
First, the idea that Zeke is not currently a “safe space.” Was Zeke ever intended to be a “safe space,” and if so, from what or whom? The editors used this highly political phrase in a misleading and misrepresentative way, willfully disregarding the fundamental concept of what safe spaces are created for. As we understand them, they are intended to be spaces in which traditionally marginalized people — women, people of color, queers, et al — can exist and feel safe, politically and socially, from the traditionally dominant oppressive forces in society.
The editors also claim that men are Oberlin’s “largest minority” on campus. For one thing, the fact that numerically men are in the “minority” (another abused term) does not diminish their inherent power in our society. Additionally, men are not and will never be just like “any other group” on campus, regardless of numbers, by sheer virtue of their privilege as men in this society.
And for the editors to claim that Oberlin’s love of diversity necessarily translates into the need for all-male housing and “even perhaps a male safe space” is downright ludicrous. The whole point of neo-liberal “diversity” is to integrate those other than straight, white males into the mainstream.
Lastly, to say that we should have an all-male housing space in order to create balance presupposes that having an all-women’s dorm disrupts a previously existing balance. That supposition has absolutely no basis in reality. Why? Think about it this way: does the existence of Afrikan Heritage House or Third World House imply we need to have Anglo-Protestant House to “balance” things out? This argument of ‘balance,” which we personally have heard quite a few people espouse, leads you nowhere but down a slippery and ultimately disastrous slope.
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