When my friend invited me to Eclectic's semi-formal, I was excited to go despite the knowledge of Eclectic's past – the leadership within the society was supposedly different. The next day, however, that friend messaged me to say that I couldn't attend the formal anymore, because of an article I wrote in response to a racist page in Eclectic's application last year. The release of the application page supposedly made a few Eclectic members question the society they were a part of, and strained some friendships within the group. Thus, a select few members of Eclectic objected to my being there, and that was final.
So here's what I have to say.
It’s ironic that, in this case, calling out exclusion only lead to further exclusion; it shows that some people refuse to learn. Instead of keeping out those who call out racism, try apologizing for the society's past offenses and be grateful that people are willing to see the society's beneficial changes. Anger needs to be directed at the conditions that fostered racism; anger towards marginalized people who call out/respond to racism is not only misplaced but also oppressive.
Racism should make people uncomfortable. I sure as hell felt that way. But instead of blocking out individuals who are willing to call out racism, that discomfort should be used to create a dialogue to address racism and other structures of oppression/power imbalances.
And of course, it's hard to speak out against these things. I should know. And I can see why it would be hard for those in Eclectic who disagree with this decision to continually resist those with seniority, but as Karmenife Paulino-Arias told me, "you keep doing you and you always keep speaking your mind and listening to yourself and your intuition. Because you are going to come into contact with a lot of people like this that are going to see you as a threat because you are a smart, articulate, powerful POC and they are always going to try and spin it like you're overreacting or 'making things divisive and worse' when all you are doing is holding up a mirror and holding people accountable."