Why Black Spaces Do Matter

I am a big advocate of being positive and in this day and time that can be extremely challenging. This morning was one of those challenging times. When this article from November 12, 2019, hit my newsfeed from MadamNoire I really had to check the date because the idea that this is a recent thing broke my brain.

The idea that Hooper, a mother, would purposefully infiltrate a group of mothers and use her access to turn around and victimize members of the community she was welcomed into is appalling. The additional layer of this woman being white and that through her actions she violated the space of a black mom community of support is incendiary to say the least.

When I see instances like this I am reminded of why I feel such a compelling need to create and protect safe spaces for persons of color. The protection of physical spaces is important but so is the protection of our virtual spaces from a mental health standpoint.

At the same time I know that from a human perspective it is important for everyone to champion inclusion, but I am not okay with sacrificing the mental, emotional and physical well being of black and brown people on the altar of inclusion. This work can not be borne on black and brown backs alone. Every time a white person commits an act of betrayal such as this it sets us all back. Trust is hard earned and easily lost.

What I can celebrate in this is the tenacity of Okafor in seeking an alternative way to help expose what was going on when Instagram tried to silence her. This is an example of how we need to be prepared to stand up of for ourselves and our spaces.

Standing up for ourselves as black and brown people is not an act of aggression, it is a basic human right. Speaking up about racism is not evidence of being radicalized as a terrorist, it is a social obligation. We are speaking truth and we hold these truths to be self-evident that all people are created equal, that we the people are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. Guess what, we’re claiming those rights left and right. Now is the time for a new declaration for humankind.

If you’d like to read the article that inspired this response, here is the link: https://madamenoire.com/1113285/clemmie-hooper-candice-braithwaite-racism/

Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.

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