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White ally response to the racist Bristol RPI (Race, Privilege and Identity) gathering and subsequent racist harassment by email.

Race Privilege and Identity was an event that happened on April 24-26th 2009 in Bristol.
The organisers of the event stated that ‘Its aim is to engage with issues of race, privilege and identity in radical queer-feminist communities through building dialogue, coalitions and resources.’

This statement comes after a call from POC who attended and heard about the event for white anti-racist allies to respond to the racism that they witnessed at the Bristol RPI event and its aftermath. All of the people involved in writing this statement are white people who attended and participated in the gathering and its workshops.

Our observations are as follows but this statement is not exhaustive:
It was clear from the behaviour of the majority of the white participants in the event that the white organisers and many of the participants had not really anticipated the presence of people of colour at the event. The racism in the way that many of the workshops were set up (an introductory question asking everyone in the room to talk about their first memories of the police), as well as the marked social discomfort (shown in racist comments about the personal appearance and manners of individuals of colour) shown by so many of the participants demonstrates that people of colour were not welcome at the event and that their presence seems to have both occasioned racist anxiety and provided a comfortable space for white people to express this. The fact that the words Race, Privilege and Identity were barely mentioned during the weekend’s workshops shows that these issues were not the focus of the event. It has also been brought to our attention that there were comments made by some participants that the people of colour at the event may not have enjoyed it as it was ‘not their scene’. This suggestion is racist.

That the presence of people of colour at the event seems not to have been anticipated shows that the intentions of the white organisers were not to create a space to discuss race privilege and identity but rather for the white organisers, and the white participants they imagined would attend, to represent themselves as anti-racist. We believe from observing it that the event was created in order that such individuals might appear anti-racist and better represent themselves as such. This is a cynical and racist strategy. It seems that the aims of the white organisers were to account for, and create a space for, anti-racism within their politics without challenging their own privilege or risking their own comfort. A service was being provided for any white person attending to feel that they were, as individuals, ‘dealing’ with racism by being at the event. This was evident in the way that so many of the white participants used the weekend to exercise their racism and the way in which they seemed not to question that this was their right. White people used the event to enjoy an idea of themselves as engaged with race. This is a way of profiting from racism.

We have been made aware that racism was anticipated as a result of the gathering in its early planning stages. That the event might cause people of colour to experience racism did not lead to a decision to not hold the event. This shows that the participation of people of colour was not a priority for its white organisers.

It was obvious early on in the event that people of colour were experiencing racism, yet the event continued to run. The racism at the event could have been stopped by ending the event earlier than planned. That this did not happen shows that the safety of people of colour was not a priority. The safer spaces policy that listed the kinds of behaviour that would not be tolerated offered no clear means of implementation. Listing worthy concerns is not sufficient to make a space safe. At the same time it is not inherently difficult to create a safe space. The failure to do so showed indifference to the experience of racism by people of colour there.

When the statement from the white organisers (posted on the RPI blog) proved insufficient apology from those organisers, and people continued to complain about the treatment of people of colour at the event, one organiser in particular sent a number of racist emails. No apology was offered for the racist abuse that was delivered to the inboxes of people of colour as she continued to express her racist anger towards them. There was also a racist email posted on LaDiDah (a closed email list) about the event.
Throughout the weekend white people continually derailed discussions that might have focussed upon racism onto their own oppressions. One participant mentioned squatterphobia: this was not appropriate. This is one way in which white privilege functions to create a victim identity for itself rather than address its power. It was deeply inappropriate for white people to try to own the experience of oppression at an event that supposedly prioritised discussions on Race.

In one organiser’s emails (sent to those at the gathering who had left an email address) she responds to the question of why the event was racist with: ‘why??? because we are learning, and we will make the mistakes.’ This suggests that it is acceptable to merely be engaged in a learning process with regards to challenging racism. It isn’t. Seeing the anti-racism of white people as a journey or process is racist. This particular racist attitude privileges the learning process of white people over the experiences of racism experienced by people of colour. People of colour will presumably have to wait until the learning process is over to be sure that they won’t experience racism from that individual. This leaves in place the threat of racism even as a white person claims to be challenging their racism. This is a way of holding onto privilege whilst claiming to challenge it. Secondly this learning process has no stated end-point. This shows the desire of white people to defer the point at which they would address their privilege, perhaps indefinitely.
Throughout the weekend white participants felt supported in bringing up the conflicted or complicated feelings they experienced as a result of thinking about their racism. Using the idea of complexity means not only that the white person’s subjectivity and self development is given paramount importance but also suggests that many different emotions are at work. This seeks to conceal that only one feeling is involved in white people’s resistance to committing to anti-racism. This feeling is the fear of, and resistance to, seeing their privilege as wholly unjust. This is a resistance to being anti-racist. It is the feeling white people get when they think their privilege is under threat.

There was continual reference from those involved in, and otherwise commenting on, the event that white people had an inherent right to be involved in anti-racist politics. Another email sent via LaDiDah highlights this racist sentiment. Its author seems to think it necessary for anti-racist politics to create a platform for whatever white people’s feelings might be at the time. On the subject of white people’s guilt she states that: ‘if one of the things white folks have going on around race is guilt it’s obvious that’s going to come up in various ways’. This places primacy on the right for white people to make their feelings a central part of being anti-racist. It is a way for white people to reassert their dominance. Her comment also shows that she wishes for it to be impossible for a process of dealing with white guilt not to be part of an anti-racist discourse. She is therefore stating that people of colour have no right to refuse to address white guilt. This is racist. The main concern shown here is for the social comfort and dominance of white people. Her comments show a clear desire for white people to be included just because they are white, and that anti-racist politics cannot happen without them. Separatism is already a solution to this problem. The suggestion that there is something to be gained by people of colour in listening to white people’s feelings first is the desire for white people to control anti-racist action, to monitor it, and to profit by it. The sheer amount of time that white people have spent justifying their racism over this event is itself offensive. Whilst apparently claiming ignorance of how to deal with their racism they have been using their time justifying it and demanding that people of colour use their time attending to it.

One white organiser made a comment on the RPI blog about somebody being £85 down in ‘personal funds’, this seemed to be intended to deflect attention away from the racism of the weekend. Another white organiser made a reference to the delicious food she and the other organisers were eating when they could have been trying to be anti-racist. This is flaunting privilege masquerading as owning up to it.
All the resources featured in the Anti-racist organising thread on the RPI blog were aimed exclusively at white people. This is another space where people of colour are being marginalised.

We have recently learnt that after the Bristol gathering the same community that got together to confront racism within itself, and should have left the gathering with the knowlege of having completely failed to do so, is now gathering for social events, once again on the pretense of providing an alternative space to the racist mainstream. This mechanical reverting to rituals which have been shown to be saturated with racism, is fully unacceptable and demonstrates that some individual will always be able to exercise the privilege to carry on as normal.

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24 Comments

  1. (I wasn’t at the gathering – only know about it from the early announcements and from what’s been posted on this blog.)

    it is not inherently difficult to create a safe space

    I’m puzzled by this statement, as it seems not to match my own experience. I.m.e. it is often very difficult to create and maintain “safe space” – the more so as the participants are less alike in life experience and beliefs. I’ve even read where people have suggested we can only talk meaningfully of safer spaces.

    But I may have misunderstood your point. Perhaps we’re thinking of different meanings for “safe space”, or perhaps you mean something by “inherent” that I’m not grasping. If it’s not too far off topic, could you say any more about what you mean?

    thanks.

    Aside from that, I’m also wondering if you have recommendations for anyone who might attempt to do anything similar in the future. Or would your conclusion be that the whole idea is so fundamentally flawed that similar events shouldn’t be attempted?

  2. thanx to those white allies that took the time to write this …. i am still suffering after the blatant racism at the gathering .

  3. Thanks to the white people that wrote this. I especially like the pointing out that there has been no apology for the racism people of colour had to experience via email after the gathering.

    Jennifer, I found the statement to be talking directly about race and privilege to prioritise people of colour rather than people ‘less alike in life experience and beliefs’ (unless that is a euphemism for people of colour).

    Can I request that any white allies wishing to respond to Jennifer’s question message her privately? I am concerned like she is that the question is too off topic and it will initiate general discussion about safe/r spaces. I think discussing racism with reference to the gathering has been deferred and deflected too much already.

  4. Thanks Laura, good idea, and no that line wasn’t a code for people of colour in particular.

    I’m wondering now if my other q about future recommendations is out of place here too – not that it shouldn’t be on this blog, but just that perhaps it’s too early to answer that one. Don’t want to push people to look forward when it’s more important first to look back. But at any rate I hope at some point in the future there will be some writing here on what people feel they’ve learned.

    • Jennifer, I think you should look again at the section in the statement that refers to the impropriety of prioritising white peopele’s learining processes and journeys.
      If some white people have decided to stop being racist, then the main impact of this should surely be on the people of colour that have to encounter them, and not on their own self-development. Taking up space here talking about what white people have learned (gained) from challenging their racism would be creating a space for white people to talk about themselves some more. In view of what you have written about safer spaces you should think of ways in which white people might take up less space. One of the concepts that seem to come up when peopel talk about safer spaces is that everyone must feel equally safe in discussions on every issue. A safe space for people of colour discussing race would be one where their comfort was central and white people’s comfort was not. White people being silent and uncomfortable is ok, and their comfort isn’t a prerequisite for discussing race. Holding back their own racist anxiety, in the interests of people of colour not having to experience them directly, might be one way that spaces could be made safer for people of colour. White people’s discomfort should not be seen as something that has to be overcome in return for them becoming anti-racist.

    • ‘I hope at some point in the future there will be some writing here on what people feel they’ve learned’.

      I didn’t learn anything from Bristol and the other people of colour I talked to didn’t report any learning either.

      What white people learned has already been described in the statement. They learned how to use a supposedly anti-racist space to bolster an idea of themselves as anti-racist and they learned how to deflect away from racism, sometimes using new and made-up oppressions like squatterphobia.

      Some of these new or newly practised skills have been used by white people on this blog (ryan talking about veganism and a tragic lack of funds instead of talking about racism whilst managing to develop an impression of himself as anti-racist through his colonialist knowledge of ‘many cultures’).

      ‘Don’t want to push people to look forward’ – I feel like you’re talking about white people looking forward? I don’t like it when white people talk about the future. I feel like they’re just showing off about their higher live expectancy to people of colour.

  5. Thanks for this text it’s typically what we, racialized people, wanted when we were speaking about not being guilty and taking responsibility instead. Responsibility and taking actions change things. White guilt just make racialized people in a position they’ve to say “no M. or Ms. White you’re nice, you’re not racist, I like ou, you’re not an horrible person”.

    But I wonder 2 things :

    – is a race safe place possible in a racist society especially in a dominant white-anglo-saxon space organized by white-anglo-saxon people?
    – why did “White ally” have to speak to other whites in this text ? Does that mean that when racialized people said things about racism it’s not relevant for white people and they need people from “their race” to explain them things? Did they feel oppressed by racialized people just because they pretend to teach them about racism?

  6. I think it is alarming that, out of all the issues raised by the statement, the concept of “safer spaces” is the one which caught Jennifer’s interest enough to provoke her to comment.

    Taking up space intended for the discussion of racism with other more abstract topics is precisely the problem encountered at the gathering.

  7. ‘We have recently learnt that after the Bristol gathering the same community that got together to confront racism within itself, and should have left the gathering with the knowlege of having completely failed to do so, is now gathering for social events, once again on the pretense of providing an alternative space to the racist mainstream’

    Can the white statement writers please put details of this new fake anti racist organising on this thread?

  8. It seems to me like it’s all too easy with hindsight for (other white) people to say “the people who organised this event are racist and we’re not, if we’d organised this event it would have been much better etc etc”. But in my mind the event simply brought to the surface issues that were already prevalent in our community, and that similar things could have happened wherever it was hosted, if it had been organised by white people.

    The 3 or 4 people in Bristol who were organising the event, while they selected the workshops they thought would be most appropriate from those offered and on at least one occasion asked a group to change the focus of their proposed workshop slightly, they ultimately had little control over what the workshop would actually consist of. I’m not trying to defend or excuse the organisers, merely pointing out that these issues and the pain and discomfort people felt at the event is about more than the racism of a couple of individuals. As I’m sure people reading this are painfully aware, racism is institutional, it’s something we’re trained into as soon as we’re born and is part of the structure of society, so even those of us who have decided we don’t want to be racist are going to slip up. I’m not saying we shouldn’t challenge individual acts of racism, or that racism is inevitable, but I feel that attacking a couple of individuals and labelling them as Racist and us as Not Racist ignores the fact that these issues go beyond the individual and deeper than conscious thought and results in blatant scapegoating.

    I feel that the important thing now is to care for those who have been hurt and work out how we can move forward as a community.

    • You seem to be saying that ‘the racism of a couple of individuals’ is unimportant. This is a way of negating the racism that was experienced on an individual basis by people of colour forced to experience the racism of white people throughout the weekend at Bristol.
      ‘Even those of us who have decided we don’t want to be racist are going to slip up’. You are excusing, in advance, your racism. This is an expression of your intention to be racist, that you might constantly engage in not being so is not considered. This amounts to a threat to people of colour.
      ‘I’m not trying to defend or excuse the organisers’. You are.

      • “You seem to be saying that ‘the racism of a couple of individuals’ is unimportant. This is a way of negating the racism that was experienced on an individual basis by people of colour forced to experience the racism of white people throughout the weekend at Bristol.”

        The individual racism *wasn’t* due to the racism of a couple of individuals though, but seemed to be coming from many sides.

        “You are excusing, in advance, your racism. This is an expression of your intention to be racist, that you might constantly engage in not being so is not considered. This amounts to a threat to people of colour.”

        I didn’t mean to do this, I was just trying to be realisic given the society we are brought up in and conditioned into.

        • ‘I was just trying to be realisic given the society we are brought up in and conditioned into.’
          ‘Just trying’ suggests apology and cowering in advance of providing a careless and offensive explanation for your previous racism.
          Being ‘realistic’ is code for holding onto white people’s privilege. Your confidence that ‘society’ will not change, and that white people will continue to be dominant, is a way of stating your hope and intention that ‘society’ remain the same. This is racist. Your comment amounts to you stating your intention that you will continue to exploit people of colour in a way that you will label ‘realistic’.
          ‘We’. No.
          You are suggesting that there is nothing you can do about the way white people are ‘brought up in and conditioned’ as a way of disguising the ways that white people benefit from their white privilege. Here you are attempting to disguise white people who enjoy racist privileges as victims of ‘conditioning’. This is deeply offensive. ‘Brought up and conditioned into’ is just a way for you to excuse the racist privileges that white people exercise whilst distancing yourself from them. This is racism.

  9. I’m planning to do some sort of challenging oppression/anti-racism workshop next month, so this has all been very useful food for thought.

    As a facilitator, to help myself challenge potential comments and attitudes similar to what happened at the RPI weekend, I think I might start by reading out the statement below, which I’ve just written to take in the comments made here. This is the first draft, and some of it might be less relevant for a short workshop, but I’m also wondering if I was involved in organising something like the RPI weekend in the future, whether it might be something useful to read out and have displayed. I’d welcome any thoughts.

    Basic principles I need to understand as a white person attending an anti-racist event:

    – I am here to understand my privilege, how I benefit from the oppression of others, how my actions reinforce my privilege, and how I should change my actions to give up my privilege.
    – I am not here to be supported to process my own racism. I need to be aware of my own racism, and always to acknowledge it to myself. I should not be taking up any session time trying to process it.
    – I should not expect anyone who has suffered from the oppression of society’s racism, that I benefit from, to have the least bit of patience to listen to my feelings of guilt about it.
    – When I show my ignorance and my racism and I am called out for it, I should not expect anyone to deal with me ‘gently’ or ‘politely’ or to ‘help me on my journey’. I will accept anger without being defensive. I will not make it all about me, and I will not portray myself as a victim.
    – I will not deflect discussions about racism to other types of prejudice just because I feel uncomfortable. Especially not any where I perceive myself to be a victim. This is not about me and I came here to discuss racism.
    – If I experience anxiety being around people of colour, I will remind myself that this is due to my racism, and I will try to deal with it myself. I will be aware that visibly or vocally acting on this anxiety will make the space less safe for people of colour.
    – If I am struggling with the issues my racism is bringing up, in a way that means I cannot focus on examining my privilege and the effects of my privilege as I have come here to do, I will remove myself from this space. I may be able to seek out a buddy who does have the patience to listen to me and to process my issues with them, before returning.
    – I will try to make this space safer and more inclusive for everyone to join in by taking up less space myself. I will not dominate discussions.
    – When I observe anyone who is not behaving in this way, I will call them out for their behaviour.

    Perhaps event facilitators could all be made clear how they should react the moment a discussion is being hijacked , and they could suggest the relevant person could take their issues to someone on an buddy rota who can actively listen to them process their stuff in private, so people in the session do not have to.

    As I said, your thoughts are really welcome.

  10. ‘We have recently learnt that after the Bristol gathering the same community that got together to confront racism within itself, and should have left the gathering with the knowlege of having completely failed to do so, is now gathering for social events, once again on the pretense of providing an alternative space to the racist mainstream. This mechanical reverting to rituals which have been shown to be saturated with racism, is fully unacceptable and demonstrates that some individual will always be able to exercise the privilege to carry on as normal.’

    It’s important to bear in mind that the same community that is ‘gathering for social events’ is a queer community who are marginalised within mainstream society as well. Depending on your location and degree of visibility to others, being queer/ LGBT in the UK still carries with it a risk of being subject to violence and hatred.

    Certainly, a criticism of the queer community in the UK (and perhaps throughout Europe) is that it is hedonistic and pleasure orientated – as well as being saturated with racism, classism, disableism, sexism internalised homophobia and transphobia.

    However, the political need to create queer spaces is borne out of an experience of oppression.

    There are of course minorities within this minority.

    As a consequence, these ‘mechanical’ self-organised ‘rituals’ have tended to be escapist in their social function. This includes a lack of willingness to confront the endemic exclusions which are rife within them.

    Confronting these exclusions is something the RPI gathering tried to address, but failed to do so sufficiently.

    It also seems like the authors of the white ally piece position themselves outside of the queer community in their move to critique it. It would be interesting to understand their relationship to this queer community – have they attended events, do they identify as queer?

    This is not to divert attention away from race, but to draw attention to how oppressions are linked. This leads me to my next point.

    Laura’s point ‘‘Don’t want to push people to look forward’ – I feel like you’re talking about white people looking forward? I don’t like it when white people talk about the future. I feel like they’re just showing off about their higher live expectancy to people of colour’, is also problematic. It carries with it the classist assumption that just because people have white skin they will automatically be borne into a life of riches and privilege. This is simply not the case.

    Life expectancy has more to do with access to good health care, nutrition, educational opportunities and work. It has as much to do with class privilege as it does to race. There are massive amounts of white people living in the UK who will die prematurely because of poverty and a lack of opportunity.

    People of colour are more likely to experience poverty because of racism, but being white does not ensure you will be able to access all the privileges the skin can carry.

    Things are a lot more complex than what Laura’s post suggests, and we need to examine how oppressions interplay in order to not make blanket analysis which produce their own silences and exclusions.

    Attempting to examine the relationship between multiple oppressions was an aim of the gathering which again, did not succeed in a satisfactory way.

    It’s important we don’t continue such single-issue analysis in its aftermath.

    We should stay in the present and be open to complexity and alliance.

    • dear hannah.
      i think you need to pipe down. as a person of colour i found your message to be deeply racist. have you ever though of yourself as a racist before?

      you could not resist centering the concerns of white people again.

      how dare you describe race as “single issue analysis” as if it is not enough. the only reason why you are stating this is because it does not make you feel important. White people clearly get anxious talking about racism because it puts them in the position of oppressor and avoiding “single issue analysis” here is just a way of getting out of this position.

      how dare you single out laura who is a woman of colour and demonstrate your ability to take race out of her argument. her perspective is racialised, yours is quite clearly not. when she brought up this point about life expectancy she was clearly trying to shut down a conversation about the future of white organising. You have only served to reopen this form of racism.

      i find it hard to ever believe that you have written this ignorantly. cos this is not the case. you are quite deliberately negating race in order to privilege white people.

      i can’t think of any reason why you’d focus on (white) queer/lgbt struggles other than to be able to talk about something other than racism on this blog.

    • I don’t think that the statement is challenging anybody’s right to organise per se. It is rather addressing racism that happened at a specific event, racism that very few people seem to want to talk about.
      It is racist to dismiss racism as just a single-issue. Talking about the complexity of multiple identities when someone else is trying to talk about racism is a cynical way of avoiding talking about racism.
      It is deeply racist of you to try to suggest Laura expressing her point of view is inappropriate. Your racist comments on how people of colour deal with the racism they experience are not welcome here.

  11. ‘It also seems like the authors of the white ally piece position themselves outside of the queer community in their move to critique it. It would be interesting to understand their relationship to this queer community – have they attended events, do they identify as queer?’

    I don’t think this would be interesting at all. Can we please make sure this blog isn’t used as a platform to out anyone.

  12. So once again the discussion has been taken over by white people deflecting attention away from racism, instead pondering a whole load of other stuff (eg how hard it is for white people – as organisers, as victims of other oppressions etc).

    Kris,
    I think the statement says clearly that racism at the gathering was not at the hands of just a couple of individuals – ie not just the white organisers but many of the white particants also.

    I feel that the important thing now is to care for those who have been hurt and work out how we can move forward as a community.

    “Those who have been hurt” are people of colour – is that who you are referring to? By once again trying to focus attention on how difficult it was for the organisers to put together this event, I don’t think you are expressing care at all for the people of colour who were hurt by the racism which they experienced.

    Rachel,

    I don’t think this is the space to have a discussion about how to run a workshop for white people or how one might organise other events. It would derail the conversation (see Laura’s comments above in response to Jennifer).

    Hannah,

    You say you are not diverting attention away from race, but your comment is pretty much in its entirety a diversion – you seem intent on actually justifying the racism of white queer people. Nowhere in your comment can I actually see a commitment or will to challenge the racism which you admit is a feature of the queer community. (‘Interesting’ how you are so quick to imply that the writers of the statement are not part of ‘the queer community’ so that you can presumably use the accusation of homophobia to dismiss it.)

    Just because oppressions are linked does not mean we can never talk about them separately. To initiate a discussion about ‘complexity’ now (plus lecturing a woman of colour about life expectancy!), when clearly it is RACISM which has caused this particular situation not other oppressions, is avoiding taking responsibility. Your comment is perpetuating that racism.

  13. I think conversations on this blog enable people to make sweeping generalisations about the actual activity of people organising in their communities. How can you tell if someone has a ‘commitment or will to challenge the racism which is a feature of the queer community’ or not from a impersonal internet forum?

    Also how, exactly, do you know the ethnic make up (which may be multi-ethnic) or skin colour (which may pass as white in their day-to-day lives) of the person typing on the other end of the computer?

    As I said in the previous post, the only problem with single-issue politics is that it can potentially produce silence and its own systems of invisibility. This is similar – in effect – to how the racism of the gathering, and the institutional racism of the wider world, operate. By all means talk about race in isolation, but don’t perpetuate classism in the process, because some people who have experienced class oppression all their life will find this equally offensive.

  14. HR,
    yet again you could not resist. it is incredibly white of you to deflect from race
    by talking about class. “perpetuate classism”: what are you even talking about? i

    have you thought that people of colour at experience both racial and class
    oppression? that these two could potentially and usually are interlinked. who
    exactly do you think occupies the underclass of society?

    hearing white people talking about class is probably one of the most boring things
    in the world. white people love to announce “the issue of class:” as if they are the
    first to think of it. please.

    stop trying to be smarter than people of colour and legit antiracists on this blog
    cos you’re not. stop pretending that you are understanding something we’re not, that
    your looking out for those that we are negating. the only person your trying to save
    is yourself.

    i think it’s clear to tell from your writing you do not have a commitment to
    challenge racism. if you don’t want to challenge racism, then just stop posting.
    wasting everyones time. honestly.

    what is wrong with producing silence? i’m well into that. this would therefore mean
    people of colour wouldn’t have to hear your racism.

  15. I appreciate your support Kris but I don’t think this is the place for it. The allies’ statement was spot on. Admittedly my initial defensive reaction having read this was “why are none of the other white people at the gathering sharing responsibility for this, i mean it was a DIY gathering, right?” But this response is completely inappropriate, and, racist, as we need to take responsibility for our own actions before we call people out on not taking responsibility for theirs.

    For my part, I came to this gathering knowing very little about anti-racist spaces. I offered that I could deal with logistics, something that I did know a little more about, although clearly not enough. I, like a lot of the others at the gathering, expected to turn up and consume anti-racism without doing the necessary groundwork and educating myself. Sure, I did some of the reading, but didn’t consider what an anti-racist space is or how to create it. This is where we fell down, thinking that we could get a few facilitators in and everything would be alright. As mentioned, the one person of colour in the collective flagged this up repeatedly throughout. At the time I didn’t really understand what it was they were saying, but rather than educate myself on it, I hid behind the fact that “I was just doing logistics”. Again, an inappropriate and racist response. We fucked up, whether our intentions were well-meaning or not is irrelevant, the gathering has created even more oppression than there already was in our communities. We weren’t equipped to put this on, and we should have postponed it until we felt we were ready, or not held it at all if we didn’t feel we could make it safe.

    In response to this:
    “Can the white statement writers please put details of this new fake anti racist organising on this thread?”

    The events that the organisers of the gathering (myself and Debi) are involved in are the Bristol Queer Caf (held at Kebele Social Centre once a month) and FAG club, which is usually held in a Warehouse Space.

    In terms of the racism that the event originally came together to deal with, we didn’t have a “queer scene” in Bristol at the time, FAG club and the Queer Caf started happening in Bristol around the time we started putting the gathering together. From my understanding the gathering originally came about due to racism in London and Manchester queer/feminist spaces (i might be wrong here). Clearly however the gathering and follow-up in Bristol (on top of one incident at the cafe I have repeatedly tried to call meetings on anti-racism and had little response) has shown that our “radical”, “safe” new queer scene/community/movement is at least as racist as the others, if not more.

    If anyone in Bristol is reading this, drop me an email (aveganhaggis@gmail.com) as we’re working on anti-racist space audits for both of these spaces.

    • Ry Ry Ry. Do you need a clap? When are you going to realise you’re racist? If you were seriously trying to tackle racism, you would stop organising events that facilitate that. You are nowhere near on it enough to be an influential organiser of events. At least have the decency to go away for a while and reflect on your behaviour. Calling meetings is not enough and you won’t get any cookies for it. Close the events down.

      Don’t patronise us by saying ‘the statement was spot on’. We know it is. Why are you talking? Stop taking up space congratulating white people for their anti-racism. People of colour have been telling you all the stuff in the statement and you haven’t been listening. As soon as a group of whites say it, you’re writing essays. Shut up.

  16. hannah in case you didn’t notice the gathering was called RACE PRIVILEGE & IDENTITY Not White Queers Lets Further Pat OURSelves on the back about how wonderful we are !!!!!!!
    JEEZ !!!! You are insisting on throwing your extreme racist views on people of colour aren’t you .


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