Wednesday, January 01, 2020

"Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People", controversial paper


I ran into a rather challenging long article in the Arrow-Journal, by Kelsey Blackwell, “Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People”,  Aug. 9, 2018, link
  
I looked this up after seeing on Google a search result from an obscure site called “NPCDaily” calling Tim Pool a “dangerous hate agent” because he had “spoken out against whites-free safe spaces for people of color.”  The idea sounded so preposterous as a reason to label someone essentially a supremacist or to call such speech by a journalist “hate speech” that I had to look further.  This seemed to be a clue to all the leftwing smears and de-platformings in the last two years.

The long article does answer the “regression to segregation” argument with a syllogism that sort of parallels quantum mechanics.

I think there is something missing from our perceptions of this issue.  Generally, we associate it with extreme measures like excluding whites from a campus for a day (like Evergreen tried to do with a “Day of Absence”).  Public accommodations and universities and colleges should not provide regular spaces where people are excluded by anything.


However, colleges do have their own subgroups which use meeting spaces and which may tend to be limited in membership in practice.  For example, campus LGBTQ groups, although you could call them “gay-straight alliances” if you want.  You can have an NAACP chapter meet but it does not need to exclude whites or anyone by definition from the meetings.  Likewise a Jewish group does not need to exclude gentiles.
  
I’m quite struck by the group identarianism in the article.  I am a gay white cis male (older) but I don’t perceive any such group identity that way that requires exclusive experiences, even though gay bars, for example, generally attract people who want to find others with similar interest (and some say so). In fact, there are little subgroups within a typical dance floor gathering.  Generally, interracial dancing is very common, as is “heterosexual” dancing, in the larger clubs.  What is much less common is dancing between cis people and non-binary people. 
 
It's possible to talk about oppression in terms of cluelessness about economic class and cultural elitism (as Joan Williams does, Dec. 24, 2019 post) at an individual level rather than racial identarianism.  That's how I like to talk about it. 

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