Please don’t turn to a place of guilt when reading this. This isn’t about guilt but instead about realizing what is happening so that we can work towards change.
I’ve been talking quite a bit about race for the past few days over on Instagram. For some of you, this is a side of me that you’re unfamiliar with. I posted a topic in my Instagram stories that received quite a bit of response, so I decided to bring the discussion to the blog. The topic: Why is it okay for there to be organizations centered around black people but not okay for organizations to be for white people only? Anything dealing with race and equality is complicated. This is just a small attempt at shedding some light.
An article about a yoga group for only white women circulated online about a week ago. Of course, this brought a lot of criticism. I am often asked about this type of situation so here are my thoughts on situations like this. Did you know that this country used to be quite segregated? Did you know that black people couldn’t attend the same schools as white people? Did you know that black people were enslaved by white people in the United States? Did you know that racism still exists today? Did you know that this country is based on the idea of whiteness? None of this is new. When black people weren’t let in the door, they created their own building. When they didn’t have a seat at the table, they created their own institution. When American society didn’t want black people, black people embraced their own culture. Then America saw that these black people are resilient. Despite the oppression, black people in America continue to strive and make the most of each situation.
So why are these whites only gatherings frowned upon? Well, this country is white by default. Don’t believe me, look in Target. What color are the nude pantyhose? What color are the bandages? Look at the makeup gift sets and think about how those colors would look on black skin. You get the idea. I don’t think that’s a secret and if you honestly think about this, you’ll agree.
There are organizations for people of color because we have a unique set of experiences. These organizations are started when black people are excluded. We come together and are able to bond and uplift each other. We’re able to show that we ARE worthwhile, and more than society thinks we are. Groups for black lawyers, black doctors, black photographers, black business owners, black congressional members, and more exist because black people are treated as outsiders. These black groups are not created to criticize white people. The focus isn’t even about white people. The focus is on uplifting and supporting each other. Historically, whites-only meant that black people weren’t welcome because black people were believed to be inferior. Even today, whites-only groups are hate groups. Look at the White Nationalists, the KKK, and the neo-Nazis. The question is, why do you want a whites-only group anyway? Let’s talk about that.
I’d love for you all to comment, ask questions, and discuss.