You may bristle at the notion that black people need spaces without white people in order to feel “safe.” Certainly, that claim has generated a fair amount of debate after an organization called the Racialized Students’ Collective turned away two white journalism students earlier this month from an event at Ryerson University in Toronto. However, the incident provides conservatives with a unique opportunity to demonstrate consistency on the freedom of association.
Many of the ongoing debates in the political discourse, from issues of religious freedom to claims of white privilege, hinge on the freedom of association. Onlookers may disagree with the rationale behind excluding whites from an event. Yet, in the final analysis, the rationale proves irrelevant. People properly may choose with whom to associate and on what terms, regardless of their rationale.
By acknowledging how the freedom of association applies in the Ryerson University case, conservatives gain leverage in arguments over other applications of that right, such as the recent debate over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. People may be offended by a Christian business turning away gay customers. People may be offended by black radicals turning away white journalism students. In either case, being offended creates no claim against those wielding their rights.