REAP protects LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC students at private, religious colleges, which are traditionally predominately white institutions with a long history of disenfranchising BIPOC students. As such, we name the persistence of systemic racism in higher education, and we lament, and firmly reject, the Supreme Court’s decision against affirmative action today, which leaves even more BIPOC students vulnerable to unjust discrimination.
Education has always been used to protect and insulate white Christian supremacy. The religious right’s present assault on queer students is born out of a historical assault on Black students, which persists today. Bans on teaching Black history, the targeting of DEI initiatives, and, now, ending affirmative action are all a result of white supremacy and the political ideology of white Christian nationalism.
REAP’s Director, Paul Carlos Southwick, reminds us that “Only 40 years ago, white, Christian schools and colleges were defending their right to deny admission to Black students and to prohibit interracial dating and marriage. Now, less than half a century later, white Christian supremacy has decided that our society does not have a responsibility to protect BIPOC students from experiencing systemic discrimination in the college admission process. Colorblindness has never been about racial justice; it has always been about protecting whiteness.”
Erin Green, REAP’s Manager of Campus & Alumni Organizing, encourages us to recognize that “This is why we must remain firm in our commitment to protecting all students. The fight to protect LGBTQIA+ students cannot go on without being grounded in a foundational commitment to Black, Indigenous, and other students of color.
The transformation of our educational and economic systems through the efforts of BIPOC and queer students threatens the current systems of power that uphold white, cis-hetero patriarchy as the standard. That is why it is more important now than ever that we stay vigilant and fight back.