— “White spaces” are popping up around the country, and they aren’t as bad as they sound. These groups of all white adults were created to give white people an opportunity to have candid conversations about identifying white privilege and implicit biases.
The Metro St. Louis chapter of the YWCA is home to several “white space” groups. The chapter’s racial justice director, Mary Ferguson says that the YWCA’s program began in 2011, but interest spiked after Michael Brown was killed by police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in 2014.
Ferguson says that more than a dozen groups are set to begin meeting in January:
“It was important to us that we had a group where people of color wouldn’t be on the spot, wouldn’t be asked to teach, wouldn’t be asked to listen to white people as they struggle to understand racism. One of the greatest fears that many of our participants express is the fear that they’re going to offend, that they are going to show their ignorance, that they are going to upset other people and they sense it themselves. One way that we can open up the space for conversation is to make the group all white.”
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