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Is there any need for or interest in a dedicated POC space at the con?


Omnes et Nihil

Poll about the idea of a dedicated POC-only space  

1 member has voted

  1. 1. Would you like to see a dedicated POC space at the conference?

    • I *am* a POC and I would like to see a dedicated POC-only space.
      13
    • I *am* a POC and I would like there *not* to be a dedicated POC-only space.
      10
    • I *am* a POC and I have no opinion.
      4
    • I *am not* a POC and I would like to see a dedicated POC-only space.
      25
    • I *am not* a POC and I like there *not* to be a dedicated POC-only space.
      16
    • I *am not* a POC and I have no opinion.
      9
    • Other.
      3


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Omnes et Nihil

So the idea of a dedicated space for POC (or people facing racism or racialised people... however this ends up being defined) has come up.

So... in addition to the regular programming for everyone AND in addition to a quiet/discussion space for everyone...

If there's space in the venue...

Would it be helpful or useful ALSO to have a dedicated POC-only space (i.e., a space for POC including racialised, indigenous, immigrant people, etc.)? Something that's just an open chill/discussion space with no specific programming that's available if people want it.

EDIT: To explain this thread

This came up because I was thinking of potential issues that people could have at the conference and potential ways of resolving them. I recently attended a conference where various POC planned, participated in and enjoyed a dedicated POC room. For that community, at that conference it worked. And the space wasn't "policed" but was respected-- I don't imagine something like that working if people inappropriately go there and need to be thrown out of it.

I brought up the idea of a quiet/discussion room for everyone AND ALSO the possibility of having other dedicated quiet/discussion rooms for groups that are particularly marginalised within the asexual community. I specified two-- namely a POC space and a space for trans* and/or non-binary and/or agender and/or otherwise gendered (i.e., non-cis) people. It wasn't meant to be an exhaustive list, but they were the first two that came to mind. In the back of my head I was also thinking about a dedicated space for people with mental health issues, disabilities and/or trauma (which might seem like an odd combination, but I see people silenced around these issues in similar ways).

From my perspective, there wasn't much discussion about a non-cis room (very little was said), but there was huge controversy around the idea of a POC-only space, and some powerful opposition from people who are *not* POC. (And also some powerful opposition from some White people about the idea that POC specifically should be making a decision about a dedicated POC room.)

As a White person myself, I am in no position to be commenting on whether there should or should not be a dedicated POC room. I have encountered a number of ace POC who left AVEN because of racism... and the way that this discussion has focused a lot on White people speaks volumes to me. I know there is racism in our community and there will undoubtedly be racism at the conference--especially the casual kind that a lot of White people don't recognise as racism... potentially from all of us, including me. But I don't know how people would like that to be addressed or handled. A dedicated POC space is one possibly way of trying to mitigate some of the racism-- it is not necessarily a way that would be helpful for this conference in this community. And it is certainly not the only way to approach the problem of racism.

I started this thread because I (and a couple other people planning the conference) wanted to start a discussion about whether a dedicated POC room would be helpful. (Is this something we should be offering? Afterall, Some of us believed that those of us having that conversation at that moment planning the conference weren't in a position to be making that judgement.) I didn't initially include a poll. That was suggested by ThaHoward (below) and others planning the conference. And I have no idea how the group planning the conference will use this information.

But the discussion is happening, which was my goal. (And a dedicated POC space wouldn't necessarily need to be a POC-only space-- as far as I'm concerned, that would be up to the POC who wanted it, but I know there are others who would disagree with me about that.)

(And after seeing this discussion, even if a dedicated POC space of any kind is something that people wanted, I have some serious doubts about whether it would be respected. But that's not my call.)

EDIT 2: It never occurred to me that people would treat the poll as a "vote" and I certainly never imagined people would treat it as anything other than a starting point for discussion. Clearly I was very wrong. When it was suggested (elsewhere) that I start this thread, I should have opened the discussion in a very different way, and I probably shouldn't have gone back and added the poll when someone suggested it. I'm sorry about that. And I won't make those mistakes again.

Edited by Omnes et Nihil
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Maybe a poll would be wise. And then if you would really like to see "poc" vs. "white" opinion you coild have seperate votes for "poc" and "whites".

To the new OP, as it is some statements that are made up:

"and some powerful opposition from people who are *not* POC. (And also some powerful opposition from some White people about the idea that POC specifically should be making a decision about a dedicated POC room.)"

And that is why I said you should make a poll to see if it is wanted or not. And you forgot to say that one who are Jewish (historically, and in most of Europe, a marginalized group and who face racism) and from what I've seen 3 POC's are opposed to it in that World Pride group. So including the Jew, it is 2 whites who are opposed to the idea and 3 POC's. From what I've seen you (white) was the obly one who was for it, while 3 POC's, one Jew and one "oppressor" was against it. Do I need to remind you that I agreed upon that I would rather have the opinions of PoC's? Don't make up facts.

That was suggested by ThaHoward (below) and others planning the conference. And I have no idea how the group planning the conference will use this information.

I thought you wanted to gain the avenites opinion. And since this largely affects PoC, ot is they who should decide if they would like it or not. If the majority of PoC at WP want it, I see no problem in supporting it. However I would like it to be another solution as seggregating the group like this is imo sending out the wrong messages. Edited by ThaHoward
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Omnes et Nihil

Maybe a poll would be wise. And then if you would really like to see "poc" vs. "white" opinion you coild have seperate votes for "poc" and "whites".

I'm not really sure how to make a poll... let me try to figure that out.... Edit: I have no idea how to make a poll.

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I see you figured out how to make a poll. :)

I have no opinion either way.

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Not attending, but I'm strongly opposed. Society isn't going to progress by separating people into groups, and excluding other people based on race, just so some people can have their 'safe space'.

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I seriously never thought I would ever say this...but I totally agree with schockkk. I don't think self segregation helps things out. Besides I'm white but I love talking and associating with POC and it would be a bummer for me if I was banned from being able to do that because it was a different forum.

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I voted Other. I think it'd be interesting to have breakout areas to discuss intersections with asexuality in smaller groups, outside of the big conference. One of those could be asexuality and race/ethnicity, others could be asexuality and disability, asexuality and religion, asexuality and sex/gender, etc. But they should be open to everyone if we want to educate people.

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Janus the Fox

Society isn't going to progress by separating people into groups, and excluding other people based on race, just so some people can have their 'safe space'.

Yeah, it feels like it's bordering apartheid separating social groups in situations. I think it would be best to maintain integration at an event as much as possible.

It sounds rather odd to me to have separate groups within an already small group.

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I kind of agree with the whole no POC thing. I see a lot of people dividing social justice movements already into other social justice movements. If a black person is experiencing the same thing as me and we're in like an asexual awareness movement, we're in it together to raise awareness, not awareness for white people and then even more awareness for non-white people within this already awareness movement. It kind of separates.

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I have to say, the idea of this really bothers me. When I see a group that particularly designates based on race it makes me feel very uncomfortable and unwelcome. To me this kind of idea says, "Whites not welcome," and I don't support the idea of segregating a group that is already small and is a minority in itself or what would come across as discrimination (when the idea of the group ironically would be that they could talk about discriminatory circumstances etc.)

(Also, not having a designated area would not keep such discussions from happening. People typically seek out those they want to have a conversation with.)

Ithaca has actually mentioned what I was going to suggest; why not have a discussion area for different generalized circumstances?

After all, anyone can experience discrimination, or issues related to a cultural background (and many different people appreciate hearing others' stories), and since it's an asexual convention a number of people have experienced issues/dismissal related to announcing their sexuality regardless of their heritage.

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Omnes et Nihil

I have to say, the idea of this really bothers me. When I see a group that particularly designates based on race it makes me feel very uncomfortable and unwelcome. To me this kind of idea says, "Whites not welcome," and I don't support the idea of segregating a group that is already small and is a minority in itself or what would come across as discrimination (when the idea of the group ironically would be that they could talk about discriminatory circumstances etc.)

(Also, not having a designated area would not keep such discussions from happening. People typically seek out those they want to have a conversation with.)

Ithaca has actually mentioned what I was going to suggest; why not have a discussion area for different generalized circumstances?

After all, anyone can experience discrimination, or issues related to a cultural background (and many different people appreciate hearing others' stories), and since it's an asexual convention a number of people have experienced issues/dismissal related to announcing their sexuality regardless of their heritage.

There most likely will be a quiet/discussion room for everyone. That's not the issue here.

The question is... in addition to a discussion room for everyone, is there a need for a second discussion room--dedicated for POC only. Nobody would be required to use it and there wouldn't be anything scheduled in it. And it existing wouldn't stop people from talking about racism anywhere else.

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Well as a white guy who is jewish and kind of faces lots of **** from other people of my own color what should people like me do? I feel I relate towards other minorities surprisingly better than I relate to my own peers. However it was very unwelcoming and in fact one person just berrated me because my skin was white but I was making thoughtful comments about my own similar struggles. If a separate room was made I'd never have the ability to have similar people to talk with about subjects I care about that most of my white friends simply don't know about or understand. That is why it shouldnt be excluding people....I'm kind of caught in a really weird place because of my situation and it would be nice to include people not drive them away and segregate.

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You know what we're doing if we have a dedicated POC space? We are promoting racism, because we are splitting people into groups according to their.......skin color? That just doesn't make sense.

The conferences is a place for everyone to get together. If we're doing the whole splitting thing, might as well separate the allies from the aces.

Note that I am non-white non-cis.

Edited by Robin L
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Um.

Why are non-POC allowed to vote on whether or not POC get to have their own safe space at this con? That's like sexuals getting to vote on asexuals having their own space. This is messed up on so many levels.

parlance

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Why are non-POC allowed to vote on whether or not POC get to have their own safe space at this con?

The software doesn't stop people from voting if they're not PoC. And if it was just "don't vote if you're not a PoC" you wouldn't know if people respected that indication, or read it actually. At least with a separate answer, you can hope that people reply honestly and to get answers based on each group's preferences.

I have to second Pook's question. This being a conference on asexuality, how has the idea of a safe space for PoC specifically come up? I'm not saying they don't need it, but why this specific group among all minorities? Why not sexual assault/rape survivors? Neuro-atypical people? I'm honestly curious about how this idea came up.

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The software doesn't stop people from voting if they're not PoC. And if it was just "don't vote if you're not a PoC" you wouldn't know if people respected that indication, or read it actually. At least with a separate answer, you can hope that people reply honestly and to get answers based on each group's preferences.

A far more respectful approach would have been to ask if any PoC would have been interested in having a space. If no one responds, then there's no need to provide it. The idea that one group should get to make this kind of determination for another is horrifying.

parlance
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The software doesn't stop people from voting if they're not PoC. And if it was just "don't vote if you're not a PoC" you wouldn't know if people respected that indication, or read it actually. At least with a separate answer, you can hope that people reply honestly and to get answers based on each group's preferences.

A far more respectful approach would have been to ask if any PoC would have been interested in having a space. If no one responds, then there's no need to provide it. The idea that one group should get to make this kind of determination for another is horrifying.

parlance

Nowhere it says which of the answers will be considered, though. How do you know the non-PoC will not simply be disregarded? I don't know the OP, so I'd rather not make those kinds of assumptions either way. I think it's more respectful.

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If we have one for PoC, should we not have one for women as well? and transgendered people? and gray-As? and aromantics? and etc.?

I thought about the same. Everyone who can be hurt by a majority then should have it's own place. And different "groups" of people that are white can actually face racism and discrimination, like Jews, Slavs, Southern Europeans etc.

And since it seggregates the group and in my opinion strenghtens prejudices and creates differences between people based upon their colors I'm opposed to it, and simply because when we first make this it is difficult for us to set a line as you have pointed out..

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I'm a POC and nope *shakes head*

Isn't that just segregating people because of their race? (I wonder where I've heard that before)

If people want to talk to people of the same ethnicity or skin color, they will but I don't think a specific area is needed. If someone suggested the same for white people only instead, they'd probably just call it racism; so yeah, it's pretty ironic.

I get the feeling of wanting to talk go someone like you who might have the same experiences (with racism in this case) and I get that's probably why there's a POC thread here, which makes sense since people can't see each other, but I just don't see how it would be a good thing.

Sorry for that huge last sentence XD

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Nowhere it says which of the answers will be considered, though. How do you know the non-PoC will not simply be disregarded? I don't know the OP, so I'd rather not make those kinds of assumptions either way. I think it's more respectful.

The framing of the poll is disturbing, not at all respectful. The only answers that should be solicited and considered in a topic regarding PoC are those by PoC. Whether or not white people want PoC to have a safe place is not a question that should even be entertained. You wouldn't want sexuals making decisions for asexuals or men making decisions for women or cis people making decisions for trans people. This should be a no-brainer.

parlance

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Nowhere it says which of the answers will be considered, though. How do you know the non-PoC will not simply be disregarded? I don't know the OP, so I'd rather not make those kinds of assumptions either way. I think it's more respectful.

The framing of the poll is disturbing, not at all respectful. The only answers that should be solicited and considered in a topic regarding PoC are those by PoC. Whether or not white people want PoC to have a safe place is not a question that should even be entertained. You wouldn't want sexuals making decisions for asexuals or men making decisions for women or cis people making decisions for trans people. This should be a no-brainer.

parlance

How would you make a poll to ensure only PoC reply, though? As I said, there isn't a software that does that. With this framing, you can see what PoC have replied and, if you're not interested, ignore what non-PoC replied.

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How would you make a poll to ensure only PoC reply, though? As I said, there isn't a software that does that. With this framing, you can see what PoC have replied and, if you're not interested, ignore what non-PoC replied.

I already answered that upthread. It's not the software that's flawed but the framing of the question. "If we provided a safe space for PoC, would you use it? Yes or no." Very simple.

parlance

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How would you make a poll to ensure only PoC reply, though? As I said, there isn't a software that does that. With this framing, you can see what PoC have replied and, if you're not interested, ignore what non-PoC replied.

I already answered that upthread. It's not the software that's flawed but the framing of the question. "If we provided a safe space for PoC, would you use it? Yes or no." Very simple.

parlance

And hundreds of non-PoC would obviously answer no to the poll, making it unreadable for any valuable purposes. It seems very simple to me too :)

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Queer As Cat

as a person of color, i appreciate that this question is being asked. that said, i think it would be unfair if only POC were provided a dedicated space for discussion. there is a lot of intersectionality within the asexual and ace spectrum community and unless dedicated spaces are also provided for other minority groups, it would be very unfair for POC to have one.

that said, i also think that non-POC can also benefit from hearing discussion of POC-related topics between POC, so i think it would actually work against the community to have a POC only space. the same could be said of any other "____ only" place. one can set aside a space for a specific purpose (ie. the discussion of POC-related issues, the discussion of gender-related issues, etc) without making it EXCLUSIVE to a certain group of people. that would be a better idea, imho.

in the end i voted "I *am* a POC and I would like to see a dedicated POC-only space." provided that the "only" is removed and spaces for other groups are also provided.

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And hundreds of non-PoC would obviously answer no to the poll, making it unreadable for any valuable purposes. It seems very simple to me too :)

Number one, I don't see "hundreds" of people responding to this poll. Second, you really believe white people will overwhelming vote in favor of a PoC-designated space, creating the possiblity of an unused room?

The part that's simple is to take into account the number of yeses, weighed against ensuing discussion, to determine if such a space will be utiliized. That's the simple part. This whole "I'm white and I'm entitled to speak up about this" is where things get complicated and very problelmatic.

parlance

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Would it be helpful or useful ALSO to have a dedicated POC-only space (i.e., a space for POC including racialised, indigenous, immigrant people, etc.)? Something that's just an open chill/discussion space with no specific programming that's available if people want it.

Given the non-structured nature of the room being proposed, I'm not understanding the accusations of racism and self-segregation. It sounds like it's just a room to decompress, not a place to hide away during the entire con. I also have no problem with a space being provided for other marginalized groups if that were requested.

parlance

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It's still the first 24 hours of this poll, parlance. Numbers may (and likely will) increase. Secondly I said that non-PoC would vote that no, they wouldn't use the only-PoC space (for obvious reasons), skewing the results.

There's still the need to clarify why this room is being discussed for a conference on asexuality in the first place. I mean, PoC will certainly not be the only minority attending the conference, and if the topic being discussed in the separate room would be unrelated to asexuality (e.g. racism, which is certainly another important topic, I'm obviously not denying that), then why is this being discussed for the Asexual Conference? That's still not clear from what the OP wrote.

There are obviously needs for safe spaces for PoC and other minorities to discuss their situations, but why is it being brought up for this conference, which isn't on social justice in general but specifically on asexuality, and why only for PoC? (Mind, I'm not yelling "white people need space blahblahblah" but why this minority in particular and not, for example, trans* individuals discussing transphobia?)

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RainbowGalaxy
The software doesn't stop people from voting if they're not PoC. And if it was just "don't vote if you're not a PoC" you wouldn't know if people respected that indication, or read it actually. At least with a separate answer, you can hope that people reply honestly and to get answers based on each group's preferences.
A far more respectful approach would have been to ask if any PoC would have been interested in having a space. If no one responds, then there's no need to provide it. The idea that one group should get to make this kind of determination for another is horrifying.
parlance

I don't see any indication that non-PoC votes were going to be weighted equally (or at all) in comparison to PoC votes.

I'm non-PoC and I voted on the assumption that my vote was not of any real importance, but merely to show that I respected the way the poll was constructed.

As ithaca says, it's just a way to see who's voting. Not an invitation for everyone to have an effect on issues that aren't theirs.

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Queer As Cat

There's still the need to clarify why this room is being discussed for a conference on asexuality in the first place. I mean, PoC will certainly not be the only minority attending the conference, and if the topic being discussed in the separate room would be unrelated to asexuality (e.g. racism, which is certainly another important topic, I'm obviously not denying that), then why is this being discussed for the Asexual Conference? That's still not clear from what the OP wrote.

There are obviously needs for safe spaces for PoC and other minorities to discuss their situations, but why is it being brought up for this conference, which isn't on social justice in general but specifically on asexuality,....

because ethnicity can and does play a part in how one experiences many things in life, including (a)sexuality. if you look through the POC thread in Asexual Musings, you will see that many asexual, gray-a and demi POC feel that their experiences with their (a)sexuality (and/or romantic orientation) doesn't always align with some of the discussion elsewhere on the forum or within the asexual/ace spectrum community at large.

intersectionality is very important not just for POC, which is why i think that it would be great if non-exclusive spaces were available for the discussion of such things. as i'm not the OP, though, i can't answer why this question has only been raised for POC.

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