Commentary Strange Fruit

For people of color, living in a racist society can be emotionally exhausting and even physically dangerous. Spaces reserved just for people of color can be healing and freeing for black and brown folks. Similarly, any group of folks who are routinely scrutinized and stereotyped because of their race, religion, gender identity or their sexual orientation often find solace and support among one another in exclusive spaces.

But it’s not uncommon that once these social safe havens are created and made public, organizers and attendees are met with the inevitable barrage of interrogations and accusations regarding such spaces:

“Why is this space just for black people?” “Why is this club just for Latinx people?” “Isn’t a black gay pride event divisive and ‘reverse racist?'”

Our first guest this week is Berkeley-based writer Kelsey Blackwell, who wrote the essay “Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White People.” We discuss with Kelsey the need for POC-only gathering places that are free from white judgement and the stereotypes and marginalization that permeate mainstream society.

Later in the show we get specific in the conversation of race, with Salem State Communications Professor Joshua Adams. He recently published a piece in Medium: We Should Stop Saying “People of Color” When We Mean “Black People”

“Saying POC when we mean black people is this concession that there’s a need to describe a marginalized group as ‘less’ Black in order for people (specifically, but not only, white people) to have empathy for whatever issue being discussed,” he writes.

And in Juicy Fruit, we talk about two very different kinds of uninvited house guests.