Meetup.com is a social networking site that allows users to connect with those who share their interests. It mainly serves as a calendar and message board for events—everything from salsa dancing to feminist book clubs are covered. It’s the kind of thing that people laugh at you for taking part in—that is, until you sign up for a pottery night at your local community center, only to catch them red-handed in a corner as they work on a shitty vase as if they were in some sans-Swayze stage performance of Ghost. It’s goofy but useful, like a clubfooted auto mechanic. I mainly use it to learn new skills and to meet aging divorcées, both being valuable pastimes.
One day while browsing for writers’ groups so I could steal some of their ideas, I noticed that there were a lot of listed events catering exclusively to black people. Sure, there are plenty of ethnocentric activities listed on Meetup.com, but these typically pertain to a specific nationality, “Chinese Guitar Club” being a specific and real example. Black people appear to be the only racial group that specifically use this medium to advertise events geared toward those of the same skin color (and even if they aren’t, they certainly lead by a mile) which, given that you find those of chocolaty complexion in every nation from Italy to Trinidad, certainly doesn’t suggest that any prospective attendants will have anything besides their skin pigmentation in common.
What exactly do they talk about at these networking sessions—the grooming benefits of cocoa butter? Soul music? The white man? You can leave your outraged comments in the comment section, but before you do try and remember that I’m not the segregationist here.
Here’s the deal: I don’t care if certain black people would prefer to be around those who physically resemble them—at least I wouldn’t want to stop them. In fact, I actually welcome it, because in the current climate of obsessive race-denial, it’s refreshing to see that some people are still pragmatic and honest enough to come out and admit that they’re more comfortable around those who look like they do; in other words, that they have racial preferences.
In that regard, black-only social events are a political talking point that can only invite empty rationalizing on the part of white-knighting social-justice warriors, and anything that turns those folks red in the face (a phenomenon relatively exclusive to white people) is, in my book, to be embraced.
What I take exception to, however, is the marked absence of any whites-only social events on the website, along with the underlying connotations and inevitable consequences for those who would attempt to set them up. What gets my goat is the fact that if I were so inclined, I couldn’t create a “White Picnic Lunch” or “White Tae Bo Workshop” without incurring some self-righteous wrath from pale-faced progressives and black Afrocentrists alike. I know—wahh, poor me, I probably wish I could shout the N-word in the middle of South Side Chicago without getting my face caved in, but just think about the implied values of our society here and what they say about us.
Are we supposed to believe that the white race is so inherently hateful and dangerous that the only way to prevent another Holocaust or Klan uprising is to treat them as the sole group that can under no circumstances be allowed to organize themselves under a racial banner? If history is the barometer here, then what about the Barbary slave trade, the Zebra killings, or the ongoing Boer genocide for that matter? Maybe you’d like to tell me that the death tolls don’t compare, but if that’s how your mind works, I’ll have to assume one of two things:
The first is that, if any nonwhite race suddenly decided to herd up and murder enough Caucasians for the historical scales to be balanced, that the idea of black or Asian-only or Arab-only social clubs and events would suddenly begin to offend you. While difficult to disprove either way, this suggests a belief that historical tragedies are only worth factoring in to value judgments once the number of lives lost reaches some indeterminate figure, which is pretty sketchy in and of itself.
The second is that you believe that there is something ingrained in the genetic makeup of white people that gives them a greater propensity for racial genocide—a concept which is kinda fuckin’ “racist,” recently bastardized definitions of the term be damned. Either way, you’re completely full of shit. If black or Asian or Arab people can get together over coffee to discuss classical cinema with an invisible “(OUR RACE) ONLY” sign in front of the table, there’s no logical reason that white people shouldn’t be allowed to do so as well, at least without earning a spot on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hate Map” and some heavy-handed governmental surveillance to boot.
Yeah, I know—why would we want to? I don’t know, but why do black people want to? I wouldn’t know unless I showed up to one of their groups, and I’m hardly about to do that.
If you want to talk historical context, the number-one cause of death for black people has always been other black people. Surely if we’re looking to the past to prevent dangerous patterns from recurring in the present, black people should also be deterred or flat-out banned from getting together based on their racial preferences? I’ve seen pictures from the Rwandan genocide, and there is a visible absence of any evil white instigators with megaphones in any of them. You can only shift the blame so much, na’mean?
Besides, if you merely like excluding people from things—especially the idea of excluding them from excluding people from things—then just come out and say it. Excluding people is fun, and everyone should be allowed to take part in it, no matter what color they are.