Whose Space is this Anyway?

Q&A with the Blog’s Creators By Reem Ali '13 Staff Writer

Scripps students returned from Thanksgiving break to flyers in every dorm with a simple message, "Whose space is this anyway?" In less than a week, the blog - of the same name - has attracted over 6,000 views and 400 comments. The blog touts itself as a space where Scripps students can address and discuss instances of race and class discrimination on campus. In a departure from a normal blog, the comments students post set the topic of the discussion; they run at the bottom of the page, where anyone can scan through them or add their voice. As for the blog's creators, they have remained anonymous and rarely interject on the blog except for a few explanatory posts, though it is clear that they are Scripps students. Voice sat down with them to ask them a few questions.

voice: How did you come up with the idea for the blog?

A: This blog has been a long time coming; it was born out of a struggle to express students' discontent with Scripps’ racist and classist policies and practices.  Through this blog we hoped to create awareness, begin a critical conversation and create a safe space for marginalized voices and to gain allies. In the short time since it was launched, the blog has reached above 6,000 hits from hundreds of comments and dozens of passionate students who want to create change.  We’re excited to see that the blog is doing what we hoped it would, but we have a long way to go to turn these thoughts into action.

voice: The premise of the blog - that there is discrimination based on race and class on Scripps campus - could be seen as quite controversial. What would you say to the people who don’t agree with what is being discussed on the blog?

A: We’d tell them that we’re very aware that race and class on campus are difficult to understand, and even more difficult to see through a critical lens. We’re also aware that people often times need concrete examples of race and class based discrimination. However, we don’t want to provide a laundry list of examples for two reasons: first, a list confines the conversation to a “to-do list” of specific incidences, secondly, a list does not require anyone to think critically about the problems listed.  We think it’s more productive and constructive to engage the readers by asking questions: when race is discussed in classrooms, why do students and professors alike think that it is okay to turn to students of color for answers? Why has the Motley not been able to keep a manager of color in the past three years? Why does the PR office construct Scripps’ pamphlet to look 10 times more diverse than Scripps really is? Why is Scripps refusing to give AASU a space or a mentor? Why does the Diversity Coordinating Committee refer to racial attacks as “incidents”? Why do SAS and other student organizations function on reimbursement-only policies, which require students to pay money out of their own pocket? Scripps is proudly not need-blind: why is it okay that Admissions discriminates against students with financial need?

voice: On the blog, you have mentioned a movement to grapple with the issues addressed on the blog a couple of times. Where do you see this movement going?

A: We seek to empower students to voice their beliefs and to raise awareness about race and class on campus.

Visit the blog at www.whosespaceisthisanyway.blogspot.com.