I understand and respect what you are saying about how unconscious racism could possibly make discussing race even more difficult and tense. But, in my own experience, being aware of my unconscious racism (and sexism, and homophobia) have helped me dig deep, grab some of the uglier parts of myself, drag them out into the light, and work together with others to build community and healing. So, in my case, it was not something that made talking about my own biases more difficult; it actually helped me unpack and decode some of the messages that were a fundamental part of my upbringing. Being raised in a Black, Christian family by a Southern father and bi-racial mother definitely affected me in a number of ways, some of which I did not even realize until I married a White woman. There were definitely some unconscious beliefs I had about race and gender that didn't come to the forefront until we were in counseling, and even then I resisted dealing with them until I hit a crisis point.
But, I digress, I understand you don't believe in unconscious stuff so (shrug) its cool.
About the Black events and Black clubs or whatever...
Yes, there are bars/clubs in Philly where 99% of the customers are consistently Black (or Latino, or gay, or Cambodian, etc). These places, as I imagine most businesses across the nation, realize that their customer base fits a certain demographic and so they make sure that the decor, music, food, etc. is stuff that will appeal to that demographic. At the few Latino bars I have been in, the music is always Latin, the food is Latin, most of the people are speaking Spanish, etc. The gay bar I have gone to is geared towards gay men, so the music, art, and live entertainment are all for that demographic. And so on.
Black events, like any other event for any demographic, are focused primarily on celebrating the cultural uniqueness of that particular group. The Odunde festival in Philly is a celebration of African culture that draws thousands of predominantly African/African-American people from all over the region. The entertainment, food, products being sold, speeches, and workshops are all targeted at that demographic...so you get things like African drumming and African jewelry making workshops, speeches about the need for a Pan African Council, foods that are indigenous to regions all over Africa, etc.
The same happens at the Irish Day Festival in South Philly, and the Dragon Club in Little China is the main hangout spot for the hipster Chinese community here in Philly.
So when I ask about spending time in those places, that's what I'm talking about...