By Karen Gavis / editor in-chief
A TCC student evoked a range of reactions recently on several campuses as he tried to recruit members and bring awareness to the White Student Union, an unofficial club promoting white ethnicity.
Richard Railey, who refers to himself on a brochure as Mstr Rick, said he attends NE, NW and SE campuses and would like have a place where white students can participate in their culture and heritage and have a sense of belonging just like the many other ethnic and cultural clubs at TCC.
“Regardless of which campus or college you attend, or are just interested in promoting white awareness, you are invited to participate in our union,” one of Railey’s brochures reads. “Join us to celebrate white history, culture and heritage.”
During a NW Student Government Association meeting March 29, Railey, who was listed on the meeting’s agenda as a member-at-large of the SGA, mentioned the White Student Union.
NW SGA historian Mario Monterroso said Railey was trying to raise awareness for the group.
“The reaction was neutral,” he said.
SGA president Nathan Cooper distanced himself from Railey, saying if students are interested in joining or discussing the union, he asks that they contact Railey outside of the NW Student Government Association.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I honestly could not believe this was happening at our meeting.”
The following morning, Railey passed out fliers on TR Campus advertising a new member recruitment meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. April 5 in the TR Campus cafeteria.
”I probably spoke to about 100 students,” he said. “Most of the responses have been pretty positive.”
Railey believes he has been the victim of racial discrimination several times at the college and said he filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights.
On both TR and NE campuses, Railey said he met a bit of opposition from campus personnel and had to reaffirm his First Amendment rights. While fully aware of his rights to walk around campus and speak his mind, Railey said he is concerned other students may not be.
“I think I have cleansed them [fliers] from any reference to Tarrant County College,” he said.
NE student Amir Morning said he thought the information was annoying.
“I think a lot of hate groups start up by saying we are joining together to celebrate our culture,” he said.
NE student Jerome Clennon received information from Railey and said he really did not know what to say about it, except that there are many groups representing various ethnicities.
“It is strange you don’t hear of one supporting a major ethnicity,” he said.
NE student A.K. Babalola sat among friends in the campus cafeteria when he received Railey’s information.
“Not being racist, but they [whites] are kind of the majority right now, you know what I’m saying?” he said.
Babalola also said Railey had been respectful while promoting the union and was not rude.
The proposed White Student Union Railey is promoting appears to be inspired by another group in Maryland led by Towson University student Matt Heimbach.
Heimbach founded the unofficial White Student Union club at Towson last year. That group has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Following in the footsteps of Matt Heimbach and his Towson WSU, this has been and is a very difficult road to travel,” Railey posted on the website for American Renaissance magazine, which discusses white nationalistic views. “I mean really, it’s just a student club not much different than about a dozen similar ones we have here on campus.”
Railey said he would entertain membership from other colleges besides TCC.
“It would be good if we could have a union to represent all our colleges,” he said.
Railey said many have expressed interest in participating in the group, and he has seriously discussed the proposed group with about a half-dozen people. He also has an information packet to complete to become an official TCC club, he said, but currently does not have a faculty sponsor or any official members.
“I do not have any official members because we are not an official group,” he said. “We are an unofficial confederacy of like minds.”
When asked what he would say to those who might think the club a racist organization, Railey said he found the question offensive.