I’m posing this question because I’m in this situation. In a world filled with oppression, shaming and subjugation, oppressed groups often need a safe space to decompress and openly share stories, ideas and frustrations of living in a world that labels them as The Other.
The need for a safe space is, in my opinion, a basic necessity any member of an oppressed group has an unquestionable right to. I have two roommates, both of which are white, I’m in an interracial relationship and a good bit of my friends are white and/or other races/ethnicities. All of my co-workers are right, straight and cis. So, you get the idea.
I regularly have the hassle of being unable to freely express my frustrations with a society that actively and passively reminds me I’m not a member of The Chosen, thus the world is free to regulate me and my life in every way possible. While my friends, roommates, boyfriend and co-workers are great people, I quite frankly do not feel comfortable unloading on them since whiteness has a way of making them feel like conversations about race, racism and discrimination should revolve around them and their feelings. As I stated in a previous post about confronting privilege, the use of diversionary tactics and red herrings when discussing racism by those in power often allows their deep-rooted bias to go unchecked. Ninety-nine percent of my venting ends with those on the receiving end–those who are not categorized as The Other by society–using red herrings to negate my feelings, thus leaving me feeling more resentful and hurt.
So, I’m at a loss here folks. What should one do (besides blog, of course) if there isn’t a safe space to shield oneself from the onslaught of whiteness and privilege?