See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

UM-Dearborn apologizes after it promoted a 'Non-POC Cafe' so white people could talk about their white feelings

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2020 at 5:03 PM

  • Susan Montgomery /
It wouldn't be 2020 if a college didn't attempt to host a whites-only event intended to give white people a platform to discuss their feelings about being white — you know, without people of color around to make them feel uncomfortable.

Well, according to a now-deleted event listing, the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Center for Social Justice launched a virtual discussion group for “non-POC” to “gather and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as non-POC in the world.” The group was advertised on the UM-Dearborn website and on Instagram as “the Non-POC Cafe,” which would take place recurring bimonthly via Zoom.
Shortly after announcing the group for white people, another group — The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Cafe — was launched, which was a virtual meetup for those UM-Dearborn students that identify as being from “marginalized racial/ethnic/cultural communities.” Both groups were slated to take place on Tuesdays between 2-3 p.m. (Imagine getting those Zoom links mixed up. Woof!)

It didn't take long, however, for the college to release a formal statement admitting that they took issue with how their segregated discussion groups were described.

“UM-Dearborn sincerely regrets the terms used to describe the 'cafe' events held on September 8,” the statement reads. “The terms used to describe these virtual events and the descriptions themselves were not clear and not reflective of the university's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

The statement, published Wednesday, also says UM-Dearborn remains “committed to fostering and maintaining an inclusive campus environment” and that the original intent of the cafe events was to give “students from marginalized communities” a place to “exist freely without having to normalize their lives and experiences.”

As for the white people, the statement says their white group was supposed to give white people an “opportunity to deepen their understanding of race and racism without harming or relying on students of color to educate them.”

Apparently, despite the name, the cafe events were “never intended to be exclusive or exclusionary,” and UM-Dearborn assured that both groups were open to the entire campus and would have moderators present.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit