Why do I even have to entertain this question??? But it came my way. Lips pursed and eyebrows crunched with frustration.
“Why do you have to make a Black group . . .?”
Yeaah . . . I’m not going to entertain this question any more. No, folk’ll be directed to this blog post. Hey, I need traffic on this site anyway . . .
I’ll start the post with the answer to the question.
“We need Black organizations because Black people have a culture and humans like cultural organizations. Humans like to get together with other humans and do stuff- like soccer clubs, golf organizations, artist groups, martial arts people . . . etc.”
I could stop here, but then if you give a mouse a cookie, they’ll ask for a glass of milk . . . The “if then” questions soon begin to flow . . .
“Sooo, if there is a need for a Black writer’s group, then why can’t we have a White writer’s group?”
Well, to start off . . . White writer’s group is hard to say. Why would you make anyone say that? Maybe Caucasian writers would sound better . . . hmmm . . . I digress. If a White writers group would be deemed necessary then we have to define White culture and honestly that is where things get sticky. The below definition of culture can help.
Culture as a noun. (link to good article)
The totality of socially transmitted behaviour patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.
The tricky thing is, White culture is hard to define. I’ve googled it. Google it yourself. You’ll find fun essays suggesting some definitions (link) (link). You’ll find Glenn Beck on the defense refusing to give a definition (link). You’ll find a psychologist conclude that privilege and being devoid of any race are ways that people identify as part of White culture (link).
My Black culture is rooted in a community of people that were displaced from Africa and once in the Americas created ways of worship, traditions, values, food, music and celebrations that have been passed down and shared over generations. I know why I’m Black. Defining Whiteness is complicated, but ultimately it’s not my problem.
So the next question that comes my way is
“Well, if it is a Black org, can I come?”
Absolutely, my partner Kinyo and I agreed that we want the Black Writers of San Antonio to be inclusive and we put that in our verbiage right away. However, we realized that adding the word inclusive gives unnecessary power to the naysayer. Why do I need to front load something that I am doing for my cultural community? So that I don’t offend anyone? I can’t and won’t apologize for my ethnic heritage in order to not offend someone.
After talking this out, we took the word inclusive out of our verbiage. Black Writers of San Antonio is for Black writers and it is about our stories and anyone that wants to contribute to the conversation is of course welcome. Folks don’t need to snatch our limelight by projecting unnecessary guilt or shame on our org for being about Blackness.
Whew . . . So now I hope we are clear. Black orgs are created just to celebrate a culture. I’m beyond excited to see what wonderful creativity, love and sense of community will come out of BWSA. I can’t wait to see you all Thursday!
Much love, Fam