Crystal Blanton’s presentation was stunning. Not all of the ideas were new to me, and some of the things she said, for instance about compartmentalizing personality, code switching, and different definitions of “safety” for a member of an oppressed class, resonated with me as a woman, but so much of what she said came specifically from the perspective of a black woman, and I’m not sure I feel comfortable even trying to summarize it.
But I’ve come away with questions, also inspired by Kat’s talk yesterday.
How do we (and I’m counting myself as a member of a privileged group here) make safe spaces? As a woman I can say that I often feel less comfortable in groups comprising mostly men, and it’s not because any of those men are actively making me feel unwelcome. And truthfully, it would probably compound my discomfort if any of them came to me and said, “What can I do to make you feel more at home?” It would just, ultimately, point out that I don’t belong.
So is that the answer? Do those of us with privilege just sit down, shut up, and let the person who may be uncomfortable decide when and whether she wants to participate and how? Or is that too passive? I really don’t know.