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  #51  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:20 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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My main concern with your question of whether we attend Black events or Black clubs is... I'm white. If an event or club says "we're for black people", I'm going to respect that. I mean, they don't need me crashing their party. Once again, I've never encountered one (and I asked around my black friends and they're not aware of them either. Could it be a US thing?), but I've seen that with, say, male-only events or single events or family events.

If an event is organised for a group I'm not a part of, I'll stay out of it out of respect, not because I'm close-minded.
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  #52  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:28 PM
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@Helo

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...
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  #53  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:33 PM
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@Tonberry: Not sure where you are from, but anyone with some street sense recognizes where they are and are not welcome in the urban sprawl without needing a sign that says, "For White Only" or "For Lesbians Only".

There are some Irish pubs in South Philly where everyone knows you do not go unless you're Irish OR with someone who is; the same is true about some of the Italian bars in the city, or the Black bars, or the upscale bars, or the ghetto bars.

No, chances are you will not be overtly harassed if you do go into them, but the sense of being the "other", the stares, the rudeness, the intentionally shitty customer service...all are clear enough for most people.

But, again, I realize that not everyone experiences the same thing.
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  #54  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:58 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I didn't realise you meant club as in bars, I thought you meant like a book club, but called a "black club". I don't go to bars and clubs (in that sense) so obviously not to any that has a mostly black audience. But it makes more sense to me than the way I first understood it.
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  #55  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:31 PM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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As I said before, I have a boyfriend who is black. My sisters have both dated black men and my niece is bi-racial. My youngest sister is engaged to a black man, so yes, I have experience talking with other races about their relationships.

My middle sister dated a black man (who identified as Cuban because he was born there), had a child with him. Their relationship was plagued with trouble from the start as the black females in their high school claimed him as theirs and were offended that he was dating a white woman. In the end, he vasilated between my sister and a black woman from their school days and ultimately stated that since the second woman was able to catch his attention at all, he must not have loved my sister after all.

As for clubs, I have not gone clubbing in years. Occasionally, I will revisit the local straight friendly gay bar that my friends and I visited in high school for Raves - their drag night is awesome. Last night, I visited a local karaoke bar with some of my LARP friends. My Korean American friend sat between a black man, and a white woman while awaiting her turn to sing. I tend to not focus on the race of my friends or my clients as I understand and appreciate that our cultural differences make us part of who we are, but are not the end all be all of our essence. In high school my husband had a friend who was a white male born in Africa. From what I remember, he made the African American students uncomfortable by wanting to participate in their African pride clubs,etc. What people refer to as "reverse racism" is still racism.

Last edited by BrigidsDaughter; 11-11-2012 at 10:35 PM.
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  #56  
Old 11-12-2012, 01:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hades36 View Post
@Helo

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.
And I'm glad that works well for you and makes you happy. In my experience, this kind of "unconscious racism" is the social and emotional equivalent of self-flagellation; you're trying to force something out of you that you cant see, that you give no voice to, that really doesnt effect what you do that much on a daily basis, and realistically you are never going to be rid of.

I prefer to use the AIBA test; "Am I Being an Asshole?" If I'm not being an asshole to people, if I'm treating them like family, if I'm doing what I can to help them out and support them as other people, the rest takes care of itself and trying to scrub your soul of these biases that we all have is really pointless. It misses some fundamentals of human psychology, namely that we ALL have prejudices and the sooner we accept that and move on, the sooner we'll get past real discrimination.

Quote:
But, I digress, I understand you don't believe in unconscious stuff so (shrug) its cool.
Dont put words in my mouth. I fully accept that people have biases they are not consciously aware of but I do not accept people re-writing the definition of racism.

Quote:
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.
I generally ignore that and just sort of go wherever I feel like going. That's why I generally get the strange looks when I go places.

Quote:
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.
There tend not to be big events like that in places like LA. We're used to a hugely diverse population so if you want to go somewhere where you can really experience a particular ethnic or cultural group, there are hundreds of different places to go in every level of intensity you can think of. People get all freaked out because they think it's a "blacks only" or a "Mexicans only" place but in reality, I've never found a place that actually gives that much of a shit if you're not in a gang.

Small organizations will put on events but they tend to be for locals and are more like a block party than a cultural event for the public. Every once and a while there are big events put on by multicultural organizations but they tend to be very sterile and boring, usually funded (and attended) by wealthy yuppies who'd freak if they actually got any un-diluted culture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hades36 View Post
@Tonberry: Not sure where you are from, but anyone with some street sense recognizes where they are and are not welcome in the urban sprawl without needing a sign that says, "For White Only" or "For Lesbians Only".

There are some Irish pubs in South Philly where everyone knows you do not go unless you're Irish OR with someone who is; the same is true about some of the Italian bars in the city, or the Black bars, or the upscale bars, or the ghetto bars.

No, chances are you will not be overtly harassed if you do go into them, but the sense of being the "other", the stares, the rudeness, the intentionally shitty customer service...all are clear enough for most people.
That's pretty wild, I dont know of any places like that in LA.

Unless you're in a gang or you act like a jerk, almost anyone can go almost anywhere and not have a problem with one exception; stay the fuck away from certain places on the West Side if you look poor.
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Last edited by Helo; 11-12-2012 at 09:49 AM.
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  #57  
Old 11-12-2012, 08:28 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hades36 View Post
Several of you have suggested that Black people do not participate in polyamory the same way White people do, or that poly "seems" to be a primarily White phenomenon.
I don't recall that anyone here made any assumptions whatsoever about how black people practice polyamory. We were simply asked by the OP what our experiences or observations were within our own respective poly communities or interactions:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helo View Post
What have your observations been on the ethnic makeup of the poly community?
Perhaps the problem is that this question is flawed since there is no single unified poly community. Nevertheless, anyone who answered could only respond with observations about our local, regional poly communities. And by simply giving feedback about each of our own limited experiences at a limited number of poly activities within each of our own limited poly communities is simply providing information -- a snapshot, if you will, of what the landscape was like at the moment of time we were there to observe or interact with it.

For example, I said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Even more surprising is the dominance of white people at the few organized poly gatherings I have attended. There are always a few people who are Asian or of Asian descent, but I can only recall one or two black people.
To further clarify, I have only been to about four organized poly events at which there were probably about 50 or 60 people present throughout the evening. That's it. As to where else I would find a poly community in NYC, whether black or white, I have no idea. But my response was just a report of what I've seen at the very few events I attended. Was I drawing a conclusion that poly is a "white thing" or saying anything about how black people practice poly? No.

So, I am very curious as to how any of the following statements could be interpreted as "suggesting" that black people "do not participate in polyamory the same way white people do" (never mind the fact that there is no one set way that white people -- or any people -- "participate" in poly, anyway) :

Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
My local self-identifying poly community is mostly lower middle class white people. . . . There are many African-American, Asian and Latino people active in my local community. However, I do live in a majority black city and so, the relatively imbalance is certainly present.
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Originally Posted by Eternaldarkness View Post
I noticed that too, and being black it IS extra-difficult being part of yet another minority.
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Originally Posted by Sannafrid View Post
My observations are only anecdotal, but the overwhelming majority of people I know in the poly community are white. The only exception I can think of is my secondary, who is Native American.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emm View Post
Most of my local openly poly community seem to be various shades of white, however one of my partners is of (Subcontinental) Indian decent and his wife (also poly) is half Chinese.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alleycat View Post
Locally, most of the (organised) poly community seems to be white, (or mixed-race) by majority with a sprinkling of exceptions.
And Hades, even you said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hades36 View Post
. . . when PLove and I attended our local Poly Meet-up, I was the only Black person there.
Furthermore, we are really only talking about actively open communities where people visibly participate in socializing or going to events. We cannot observe what goes on behind the closed doors of everyone in our neighborhoods. Naturally there are many more people who practice polyamory without ever setting foot at one of these organized things, or even use the word "polyamory," so none of this is really going to reflect true numbers of poly people no matter what color their skin is.
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  #58  
Old 11-13-2012, 05:56 PM
nondy2 nondy2 is offline
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I was thinking this over this morning. Someone asked if people had black friends or how much they associated with black people... I began thinking about what racism really means to me (and what ableism means to me). I believe that it's not necessarily about who you hang out with.

I can liken it mostly to ableism. Most people do not have disabled lovers, friends, or colleagues. Does that make them ableist? Many people do not have black friends - are they racist? I do not have black friends, I grew up in a culture that was 60% hispanic, 10% Indian and rest mostly white. I still live in a 'white' neighborhood, I have not had many blacl friends because that hasn't been my opportunity. I think racism and ableism are more about attitude- whether someone thinks that non-white (or non-disabled) people are superior to white/abled people. Whether on thinks one is perferable or deserves more rights, or should be hired for a job, or is an equal human being and whether one uses language that is respectful - in the disability world, for example using terms like wheelchair bound, ill, sick, retarded, spastic, lame...crippled and so on (invalid) are words that show disrespect and disempowerment.

I think ultimately each person has to be looked at as a whole, not are they the same color or gender or ability, but what CAN they do. Are they funny? Do I like them? It doesn't necessarily have to do with who you hand out with - it has to do with approaching someone different than you without assumptions.
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  #59  
Old 11-13-2012, 05:58 PM
nondy2 nondy2 is offline
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I also think it would be great to add disability to this mix. Because people don't view disability in the same light as race- although it is VERY similar. There is nothing wrong with having a different way of moving or thinking. Just as there is nothing wrong with being from a different ethnic background.
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  #60  
Old 11-13-2012, 09:33 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I think the question about personal experience with black people was due to the fact that there are things you just don't realise if you don't have first or second-hand experience of them.

For instance, you might not think that people in a wheelchair are inferior, but you might also not realise how impractical some things are for them. You could, say, build a restaurant and fail to make it easily accessible, which while not ableist (no hatred against the non-able bodied, no negative intent), is still de facto discriminatory, in that they just can't eat there even if they want to.

If you're not part of any minority and have also never spent time around them, it's possible to be completely unaware of many little everyday things you take for granted that are different for them.

Now, with all this being said, I'm not quite sure how that's relevant to how many non-caucasian people we know who practice poly, but I don't think it was suggested that everyone who isn't surrounded by people from every possible minority is a racist. Simply that they might not be aware of some things and should keep it in mind.
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