[clipped reblogging text]
thank you, you’ve done a great job summarizing what I’m trying to say. And I get that no one can really speak for the rest of us, but what gets me are when *poc-run spaces* aren’t cognizant of their (lack of) diversity, or turn away non-black poc, or even not explicitly making an effort to be more inclusive. Some people were talking about US politics of inclusivity & I’m like, this isn’t about the US! This isn’t about white people! Stop deflecting the question! And even when other people chimed on with their experiences it apparently isn’t good enough.
Here is the thing. Yes various organizations will fuck up. I am really sorry your friends were turned away from what was supposed to be a POC space because they weren’t black. That does suck.
HOWEVER. While it’s important to listen to these stories, it’s also important to acknowledge that they may not reflect what is typical of POC events/spaces/etc. In my experience of POC spaces the emphasis has been on how a person self identifies and the events have been open to anyone who will walk in the door and say “Hi, I’m a POC too.”
To give two specific examples. At two different conventions I’ve been at there have been events that were for “POC only.” These events explicitly were for anyone who identifies themself as a POC. No one was turned away at the door for being not “of color” enough.
Here are two pictuers from a POC dinner at US feminist sci-fi convention called Wiscon
In these photos are people who embody a wide variety of racial identities and who all also consider themselves POC. That event was….organized by a black woman. So that’s a POC event, organized by a black women, whose attendees are not all black (I don’t know that the event was majority black) and no one was asked “are you *really* a POC?” I’d also add that a photo was taken of everyone in the room who identified as Asian (explicitly including South Asian and multiracial people).
Another POC only event I attend was held at NOLOSE which is a fat acceptance activist convention. The POC event open to anyone who walked through the door and said “I’m a POC.” We decided that what was discussed in the event was private, but we also generated a public statement: http://www.therotund.com/?p=486
One thing that I’m hearing is that some people feel *uncomfortable* attending events that say “POC” and are also organized or attended by a majority of people of African descent. To me that is less about wanting more racial diversity, and more about someone being uncomfortable around black people.
Another thing I am hearing is multiracial people talking about feeling unwelcome at POC events. I’m a multiracial person. I go to POC events all the time. I definitely went through a period in my life where I was worried that events for POC would be unwelcoming or that I wasn’t “really” a POC. Those were my own issues, and were not the fault of any of the organizers of the events.
It is important to discuss diversity in events and are events welcoming to everyone. It’s also important to realize that sometimes we as POC internalize and project racist ideas and beliefs. This can cause us to perceive something as unwelcoming when the discomfort is actually from internalized racism.
people feel uncomfortable not because they’ve got something against black people, but because it can be really scary and intimidating to be the only one of your kind there, especially when past experiences haven’t necessary been friendly. there are things that are very black-specific by circumstance that other Poc can’t necessarily relate to. if we see that a space or event is primarily made up by one cultural group - whoever it is - we have to make hard decisions about whether we want to risk being the token, risk not getting injokes or references, risk feeling alone. Just because the predominant group is also marginalized doesn’t mean they’re empathetic.
you show me photos, but how do we know whether the non-black poc felt welcome unless we ask them? You talk about self-identification, but what about those who feel like they hold no right to the term because it seems to imply a certain experience? Why is there even a *predominant* group at poc spaces anyway - why is the mix not more diverse? And why is asking about these things somehow a diss against black people, when similar questions have been asked of white-heavy spaces?