Am I oppressed enough? My skin is dark, but is it dark enough? I am a woman, but am I silenced enough?
Am I harassed enough? Am I objectified enough? Are my experiences with oppression valuable enough to be included in your closed space for discussion?
Is there a standard I have to meet, a checklist I have to cross, in order to be considered sufficiently racialized and marginalized to be able to attend your event? Am I welcome if I wont self-victimize? If I will not let my experiences with oppression define me?
Is your closed space for discussion open for me?
What about your allies? What about those who may not have experienced oppression, but who want to show their support, who want to join the conversation to listen about your experience, to express their solidarity, to take action with you?
How do you plan to address the oppression of racialized and indigenous peoples if your conversation is only a one-way conversation? If you don’t allow others to learn from your experiences and to express theirs?
When you created a Closed Space for discussion, you immediately created a space of exclusion. The only people you included were those who identified as racialized and indigenous, and you excluded all the rest.
You excluded people who, like me, questioned the validity of their experiences before the word ‘closed.’ You excluded people who unlike you, are less aware of ways in which oppression works against them and who could have benefitted from the conversation.
You excluded non-racialized and non-indigenous peoples who could have stood in solidarity, who could have learned about their position of privilege and their role in your oppression.
You excluded people who may not have wanted to stand in solidarity, those that needed to be exposed to different realities the most.
By creating a closed space for discussion, a “rare space where there are no white people participating,” you have excluded a number of diverse voices and experiences that may have contributed to your conversation.
You excluded me. Not only because I did not feel oppressed enough, but because I believe that if you are going to “address barriers,” you do not create more.
You created a barrier, and you prevented others from learning how to remove the ones that they create.
Your goal is to build solidarity, but let me ask you, solidarity with who?