Queer students fight racism through new LMU club

Through an intersectional lens, LMU’s new group, Accountability: Internally Deconstructing Anti-Blackness (AIDAB) challenges racist practices and works to uplift BIPOC voices.

Intersectionality—a term coined by Black critical race theory scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw—refers to the ways in which different forms of oppression tend to overlap, compounding experiences of discrimination.

The concept challenges marginalized people to rethink their own experiences of discrimination and how those might differ from people with other intersecting identities. For example, a white queer person and a Black queer person may both experience marginalization, but not in the same way.

LMU’s new group, Accountability: Internally Deconstructing Anti-Blackness (AIDAB), addresses this specific issue. AIDAB is specifically designed for white, queer students, and the space is made for learning to practice anti-racism.

Tasha Colin, co-founder of the LGBTQ+ organization Expanding Identities Development, has facilitated AIDAB since June 2020. They, along with help from AIDAB members, answered some questions.

Jordan Boaz (J.B.): How did AIDAB get started, and why?

Tasha Colin (T.S.): Starting in June of last year, LGBTSS Director, Lalo Moreno, saw a need for multiple spaces for students to unpack their anti-blackness and process everything that George Floyd sparked in this new wave of anti-racism and anti-oppression work. That being said, Lalo brought me in as a facilitator for their white, queer student leaders to have a space to unpack their anti-Blackness, which initiated students to create the name for the group: AIDAB: Accountability: Internally Deconstructing Anti-Blackness. From there, students work both in processing their own feelings around whiteness, as well as continuing their own education on being actively anti-racist and in figuring out their place in deconstructing and decolonizing white supremacy and heteropatriarchy. In addition, students also take action steps in uplifting Black and Indigenous voices and ultimately taking the physical, emotional and mental labor off of Black, Indigenous and all folx of color to educate themselves.

J.B.: Why is it important for queer students specifically to focus on anti-racism?

T.C.: A lot of people can get caught up in the ways they're marginalized instead of how they’re privileged. There are ways white, queer folk are disadvantaged, but that doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from other privileges. Being marginalized in certain ways can make you a better ally as you’re able to empathize more because there's a level of understanding of being disadvantaged (without comparing). In addition, there is also a long-standing history of racism within the LGBTQ community which needs to be addressed, discussed and unpacked.

J.B.: What influence do you hope AIDAB has on LMU?

T.C.: A silent influence. In a way that’s not super “showy” (such as performative activism) but impactful in ways that can bring others into the work to help continue to deconstruct anti-Blackness in the white, Queer community. Also to help people become more critical of racism at LMU and vocalize it when recognized and ultimately make us better allies.

The group plans to spend the semester focusing on how to be anti-racist, including improving the racial environment at LMU. For students interested in joining, AIDAB meets from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. PST every other Monday. More information can be found by contacting veronica.manz@lmu.edu.

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