Bahar Mustafa: Goldsmiths Students' Union diversity officer 'could lose job' after being accused by students of racism against white men

Bahar Mustafa received a backlash after requesting that white people and men did not attend an event for BME students

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 19 May 2015 11:55

The diversity officer for Goldsmiths University in London is caught up in a racism row that now has students signing a petition for her to be removed from her job.

Bahar Mustafa, the student union’s welfare and diversity officer, received a backlash after she posted a Facebook message about an event which requested that men and white people did not attend a BME Women and non-binary event.

After defending her position in a video, students began the petition asking for her to be removed from the position, while a public change.org petition calling for the same action has received around 1,500 votes.

"There have been charges made against me that I am racist and sexist to white men…" Mustafa said in the video.

"I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men because racism and sexism describe structures of privilege based on race and gender and therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist, since we do not stand to benefit from such a system."

"We will not be silenced; we are militant. The world is not ready for minorities to challenge the status quo, but resistance to our resistance is futile,” she added.

The union petition reads: "The current welfare and diversity officer has used hate speech based on race and gender," the union petition.

"For example, the consistent use of hashtags such as #killallwhitemen and #misandry, and publicly calling someone 'white trash' under the official GSU Welfare and Diversity Officer Twitter account."

Mustafa said her use of the term "white trash" - an offensive American term referring to poor white people following the Great Depression - on an official account had been "not professional".

But she added the uses of hashtags such as "kill all white men" on her personal account were "in-jokes and ways that many people in the queer feminist community express ourselves".

"It's a way of reclaiming the power from the trauma many of us experience as queers, women, people of colour, who are on the receiving end of racism, misogyny and homophobia daily," she added.

Mustafa has reportedly received racist and sexist abuse and death threats after the controversy was reported by the media.

The student's union previously said it was reviewing how it communicates with people to "avoid any future misunderstandings" after the backlash over Ms Mustafa's comments ahead of the scheduled event in April.

It added: "Challenging societal inequality has been at the core of our campaigns and we try to do this pro-actively in our everyday work, so the accusation that we discriminate is one we refute wholeheartedly."

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